Oklahoma basketball players and coaches are mourning the loss of Hall of Fame member, Dub Raper.
This week, the 83-year-old coach lost his battle with COVID-19.
Raper coached at several schools across the state including OKC Milwood, Owasso and Carl Albert.
His son Roger describes him as a tough coach who brought up young men in old school basketball. He also says his impact goes beyond the hardwood.
"The response we've gotten in the last couple of days from all of this, from all of his ex-players has just been phenomenal. It really has," says Roger.
His role as a leader in the lives of the young men he coached is evidenced by the number of players who went on to coach as well. That number includes Roger and his two brothers.
Roger, now the head boys' basketball coach at Purcell High School, says as a kid it was hard to go anywhere without running into someone who knew and wanted to speak to his father.
A tough coach, who inspired the love and admiration of those who played for him.
Prior to Christmas, Coach Raper tested positive for COVID-19. Simple tasks like shaving would leave him winded.
Roger was concerned because of his father's Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD. Something he believes developed after the 2013 tornado.
The hardest part, Roger says, may have been seeing what his father had to go through after being hospitalized, without his family by his side.
"Until you experience it, you don't understand," he says."[It's] Not easy to do, not easy to go through by yourself. So, you see how families are torn apart by this."
The family eventually made the decision to take him off the ventilator.
"He didn't want to live on a machine. We knew that," says Roger. He recalls his father's final moments, holding his mother's hand, "It wasn't five minutes after we took him off the ventilator that he went home to be with Jesus."
Roger says this season has been difficult. Coaches respond to last minute changes, never knowing what players on the court have been exposed to.
When asked if he thought it was important to play the remainder of the season, Roger says 'absolutely.'
"These kids have to have it. We're seeing more and more issues with depression, kids have to be around other people," he explains. "If you take that away, I think we'll see more emotional and mental issues. We have enough going on to add to it like that."
It's the reason Coach Roger Raper added an additional 30 minutes of social time to the beginning of practice when school went virtual. He says the players just needed to hang out with one another.
He added that it doesn't even matter if fans are in the stands. Like his father, he knows kids need the game of basketball.