Dribbling and shooting are two techniques Bowe Cleveland teaches kids every Saturday at the Community Center in Taft. Bowe is a 16-year-old junior at Taft Union High School. On Thursday morning he was shot by a classmate while he was taking a quiz in science class.
"Shouldn’t have happened to him of all people," says Steven Gee, a senior and varsity basketball player at Taft High.
Gee says he was in that class sitting near Bowe when he saw their classmate shoot him.
“It was all happening so fast,” Gee says. “Is this really happening right now, you never expect it to happen to you or in your class."
Bowe played basketball at Taft High for two years. While he is recovering in the hospital, his former teammates took over his youth basketball class. Bowe works at the recreation center and goes over basketball drills with fifth and sixth graders.
"It was a little strange, trying not to talk about it to the kids, just trying to keep it normal as possible," says Kyle Adkins, a sophomore and Taft High School basketball player. "They sort of look up to us being basketball players, so I think it's really good to help the little guys out."
Gee says another coach at the rec center brought up the idea on Friday for the team to step in and take over Bowe's class. He says the team was all for it because “once a wildcat, always a wildcat."
"He's a great person, a funny guy, just fun to be around,” Adkins says. “And I couldn't see him bullying or doing anything like that, so I don't know why it happened."
Other Taft High students signed posters for Bowe and the school staff they call heroes. Bowe is a big Spiderman fan.
"He's funny,” Gee says. “Cool to be around, just a good guy."
Dozens are writing Bowe notes hoping for a speedy recovery. They plan to take the posters to him in the hospital. The basketball team has a game on Tuesday, but they haven't practiced since the shooting.
"We haven't been able to practice yet,” Adkins says. “It's tough knowing that some of us were there with him, and it’s just tough."