FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)--The beginning of the season was all business for Collin Cooper, scoring 20 points per game. And then tragedy struck.
Collin's older brother Caleb died in an accident in December. That's when the Purple Dog community showed its true colors.
"We had a game down in Conway that we were supposed to play in but every kid on the team decided they didn't want to go to that ball game," coach Kyle Adams remembered. "They wanted to be there at the funeral for Collin."
"It means a lot to me because it makes me feel like they cared about it and they helped me get through this time," Cooper said.
"Just a team decision," fellow junior Darius Bowers said. "You know we're a brotherhood and just felt like we needed to be there for him."
Cooper's pushed through the tough time, but now there's an even bigger reason to go out and play basketball every day.
"I've pretty much dedicated this to [Caleb], he'd want to see me doing great and so I make sure I do what I need to do," Collin said.
Bowers added, "Try to win the championship for him and that's our mission."
The way Collin dealt with adversity hints at the kind of person he is.
"Real quiet unassuming young man," said Adams. "He doesn't want that limelight on him all the time. He just works hard at it, he's the first one to the gym, last one to leave."
"He's made me a lot smarter player and he's helped me with my confidence level," Cooper said of his head coach.
"I've grown up with Collin for a while. We started playing together in fifth grade and he used to kill me in one on one and stuff," laughed Bowers.
Caleb was on a track scholarship to Pittsburg State. Collin's goal is to play division one basketball, and already has an offer from Central Arkansas along with interest expressed by Oral Roberts, North Texas and Arkansas Little Rock.