Hundreds came to remember USC-Aiken basketball player

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News 12 at 11 o'clock, March 19, 2009

AIKEN, S.C.---The USC Aiken family gathered Thursday night to remember one of their own. Javonte Canton was killed in a single-car accident on Wednesday while driving back home to Columbus, Ohio.

He may not have been a Pacer for very long -- less than a year -- but Javonte Clanton left his mark at USC Aiken and hundreds came out to show he'll never be forgotten.

The Pacer family in mourning. The basketball team wearing the number 22, all in memory of their friend and teammate, Javonte Clanton. "He was a tough guy on the outside though but he had a big heart on the inside," says Dance team member Leanna Bussey.

"This morning when I woke up and I realized that chemistry class that he wasn't going to be in there that's when it hit me," says Freshman Cheerleader and friend Gabrielle Davis.

Hundreds showed up to say goodbye. They lit candles and shed tears. Many friends describe Javonte as a young man who lived every day with a purpose.

20-year-old Clanton was driving back to his hometown in Columbus, Ohio when the accident happened. Police in West Virginia say he fell asleep at the wheel, hit a tree and was ejected.

"It just doesn't seem fair. I mean you don't question god at all but it doesn't seem fair," says Davis.

"It's disbelief it doesn't seem real and it still doesn't," adds Bussey.

Clanton was a junior point guard in his first year for the Pacers. He made an impact for the team off and on the court.

"When you wear that jersey., number 22, you better believe you have to have heart you better be courageous and you better be brave. Because that's what he had. He brought something to this team that will never leave," says Head Basketball Coach Vince Alexander.

They signed a ball and touched his jersey. And promised each other Javonte's memory will never be forgotten.

The USC-Aiken chancellor also announced that there will be a Javonte Clanton Memorial Scholarship in the players honor.

Funeral arrangements have not been made for Javonte Clanton. Those services will be held in his hometown in Ohio.

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