'He was more than a teammate, he was like a brother'; Community - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

'He was more than a teammate, he was like a brother'; Community gathers to remember ETX teen

GILMER, TX (KLTV) -

An East Texas community is remembering a young athlete who many say was more like a brother than a teammate.

Gilmer high school junior Desmond Pollard was playing basketball with friends in Mesquite on Sunday, when he collapsed and died. With hugs and consolations, family and friends gathered at first Baptist church of Gilmer to remember Desmond.

"He was more than a teammate, he was like a brother. We'd laugh and hang out, this last week without him, it hurts," says Gilmer teammate Jamel Jackson.

"It was pretty hard. We get the phone call that one of my teammates passed away, not just a teammate like a brother. Me and Dez became very close, one of the best players I've ever played with," said senior quarterback Tanner Barr.
 
He planned to go on to play college football and his loss was felt by all who had come to call him friend and family.
 
"We're a very small town, a lot of our kids don't have much, they lean on the coaches and the program. Desmond was one of those that, we've been through a lot with Dez and he was just a wonderful kid," says Gilmer head football coach Jeff Traylor.
 
Tearfully many remembered Desmond's cheerful nature.
 
"His smile just melted everybody, a lot of people sad today. He's one of the greatest wide receivers I've ever coached and I've coached some great ones. He would have been playing college ball somewhere," says Traylor.
 
Some wore tribute to Desmond, shirts with his jersey number. Many say Desmond considered his coach's and team-mates family members.
 
"Desmond he lived his life to the fullest, he didn't hold anything back. He was a great athlete, more than that he was a great friend," Jackson says.
 
What he would have gone on to do with his life now will never be known. They can only hang on to his memory.
 
"He had a lot of great days in front of him and its a shame we don't get to watch them all," Traylor says.
 
"He was just so caring , always there to talk to you," Barr says.
 
Desmond Pollard was laid to rest today at Sunset Memorial park in Gilmer. The exact cause of Pollard's death has not been released.
 
Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.
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