THE local basketball fraternity is now mourning national player Shawn "Shawny" Lawrence, 30, who died on Wednesday.
According to police, Lawrence and four other men were shot in Maloney, on Tuesday night. Two of the men are still being treated for gunshot wounds, one man died at the scene, and Lawrence died at hospital.
During his career, he played as a centre and represented the Caledonia Clippers, Detour Shak Attack and the Maloney Pacers.
National Basketball Federation of TT (NBFTT) vice-president, marketing and communications Stefan Dillon told Newsday Lawrence's death "comes as a major loss to the basketball community as his on-court ability provided spectators with a high degree of entertainment.
"To me, Shawny was a very quiet and reserved individual. However, his explicit display of his natural ability and basketball skills would suggest otherwise. Shawny was considered one of the top players in the country that many believed had the potential to play professionally. His tall stature, high skill-set and athletic dexterity made him comparable to an NBA prospect."
Dillon was also his team-mate in 2008 when they were both enrolled in the University of TT's (UTT) basketball athletic-scholarship programme. He is now UTT's head coach.
Founder and athletic director of Stories of Success Basketball Academy, and assistant secretary of the East Zone Basketball Committee Kern George told Newsday Lawrence was "a legit NBA prospect and a force to be reckoned with on the hardwood.
"One of the best young centres to touch the shores of the 868. He could play all sports. His first sport was football where he was really talented. The Maloney Pacers organisation gave him a chance to learn and play the game of basketball."
George also played alongside him at UTT in 2008, and in 2013 and 2014 for Maloney."Hearing that type of news first thing on a morning, anywhere in the world, is a tough pill to swallow, but the basketball community sends their condolences to his family and daughters during this time of mourning," George said.
Lawrence leaves behind two daughters – Leshawn, nine, and Tishawna, three.