UT Tyler basketball team supporting player in the ICU

UT Tyler basketball team supporting player in the ICU

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Today marks a full week of practice for the UT Tyler basketball team without teammate Justin Bartie.

"He brought energy and even when stuff wasn't going his way he didn't shut down," says teammate Melvin Anthony. "He was fun to play with mostly so I mean his absence you can tell."

On Sunday Bartie was struck by a vehicle while walking on Old Omen road just outside the UT Tyler campus. Today he remains in the ICU in critical condition. Jamon Copeland, the teams head coach says Bartie was more than just a player.

"We're a family and any time you're missing a family member you can't replace that," says Copeland. "It's been really though it's been a tough week."

Although Bartie had just transferred to UT Tyler this year, he'd already made a lasting impression.

"It's crazy how much of an impact a guy could have in a short amount of time," says Anthony. "He was here for maybe three months before this incident happened and it's like an outpouring of support from not only the teammates but all the students that go here."

Bartie is missed on the court but, players say his absence isn't in vain.

"We play for him it's not like him missing means oh were down a player," says Anthony. "We're going to play for him so it gives us another reason to make us play harder."

Copeland says the team is visiting Bartie as much as they can, and any one of them could be in his shoes.

"It could happen to any of us you know," says Copeland. "I think anytime you're driving you need to be aware and cognizant of your surroundings, especially in a school zone"

Tyler police say the driver of the vehicle that struck Bartie was not cited and the investigation into the crash is closed.

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