They were already talking about the next basketball season at Walbrook. There was so much potential -- four players from Walbrook selected for the annual underclassman all-star game were returning next season.
Yesterday at Walbrook they were still talking about next season, but instead of talking about the four all-stars returning, three of them were talking about dedicating next season to Rodney Beasley.
Beasley, who was 17, was killed in a one-car accident Saturday night in East Baltimore, just a few hours after playing in the East vs. West underclassman all-star game at Morgan State University.
Walbrook's Shamar Bass, Sean Evans and Jermaine Porter also played in the all-star game. Yesterday, they were among the classmates of Beasley's who met with a crisis-intervention group at the West Baltimore school to discuss his death.
"It's hard for me and Jermaine and Sean," Bass said. "We had just played with him in the all-star game that night. He was upset because he said he didn't play that good."
Injured the accident were Dunbar's star guard Michael Lloyd, his sister Kristal Preston and two other Walbrook players, Carl Williams and Joe Wilson. Wilson played on the junior varsity, Williams on the varsity.
According to police reports, Preston was driving a 1980 Buick Regal south on Aisquith Street about 11:40 p.m. Saturday when it skidded on the wet pavement when she attempted to stop at a light at East Preston Street.
The car went out of control, traveled through the intersection and crashed into a metal pole that supports a traffic light on the southwest corner and burst into flames.
Beasley was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he died of multiple injuries at 12:20 a.m. Sunday.
Preston was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was listed in fair and stable condition last night with fractured femurs.
Wilson, Williams and Lloyd were taken to Mercy Medical Center, where they were treated for minor injuries and released. Walbrook coach Gus Herrington said Lloyd suffered a broken ankle, Wilson a concussion and Williams a broken arm.
Beasley and Lloyd were close friends. Beasley transferred from Dunbar to Walbrook last summer and, after playing a reserve role at Dunbar, became a starter at guard for Walbrook and one of the team's leading scorers, as well as one of its vocal leaders.
"He added friendship and a lot of things, especially leadership," Porter said. "He always wanted to be a leader, and some of us looked up to him. I will always miss Rodney for that."
Beasley was popular among his teammates, schoolmates and the administrators and teachers at Walbrook. They remembered him yesterday for his smile, outgoing attitude and potential as basketball player.
"Rodney would have been a sure-fire candidate for a Division I scholarship," said Walbrook principal Samuel Billups. "He was a good ballplayer with the potential to be even better. Had I not known him from the halls, I would have never known him in a disciplinary way."
"He was always happy and always had that smile," said Aurora Trigg, one of Beasley's teachers. "Even when he'd come to class late and he knew I'd reprimand him, that smile was still on his face."
Tomosena Artis, an aspiring singer at Walbrook, remembered Beasley well because he always broke into song whenever he saw Artis.
"I would look forward to us singing together," said Artis, who hopes to sing at Beasley's funeral. "Every day when he'd come to school, he'd see me in the hall and ask me to sing or ask me to sing with him."
Beasley's body will be on view at the March Funeral Home, at the corner of North Avenue and Aisquith Street, tomorrow after 2 p.m. The funeral will be Thursday at 8 p.m.