High school basketball player killed in crash honored at game

A high school basketball game in Marin County Tuesday night had special meaning, when the fans and rivals in attendance honored a beloved athlete killed in a car crash six months ago. 

Kwentyn Wiggins, 17, was a star point guard for the Branson School, a private high school in Ross. 

His former teammates wore T-shirts emblazoned with his No. 11 and the words "All for You," the new team motto.  

During warm-ups before Branson's home opener, players for rival Redwood High School also donned the commemorative shirts.  

"Kwentyn was known throughout the county so I want my guys to play for him just as much as the Branson players do," said Redwood head basketball coach Jay De Maestri. "It was a totally out of left field tragedy, and if you knew the kid, you knew his spirit was just unmatched."

In June, Wiggins was driving home from a friend's house at about 2 a.m. when his Honda drifted off Highway 101 in Marin and struck a tree. He was killed instantly.

"I wake up every day and my baby's not here," said his mother LaTanya Wiggins, attending the game. "But I know he's up there smiling, grinning from ear to ear."

Wiggins described her son as modest, and said he would have been overwhelmed, as she was, by the outpouring of love and support for her family.   

A vigil at Branson drew hundreds of people, a memorial has been established on campus, and Kwentyn's jersey number will be retired in  football and basketball. 

A GoFundMe account launched by the school to benefit the family raised more than $200,000, and has become the seed money for academic scholarships. 

A foundation in Kwentyn's honor will pay tuition to Branson School for a deserving student each year, who otherwise afford it.   

"The thought is when you see this kid or meet this kid, he or she will remind you of Kwentyn, his good character, his kindness, all the things that he possessed," said Wiggins. 

Kwentyn's basketball coach says he was a phenomenal athlete, but stood out just as much for his interpersonal skills.  

"At school he was Kwentyn the personality, the friend, the student, the leader," said coach Jonas Honick, "and he was able to move seamlessly between groups and fit in with lots of different students." 

Tuesday's game was Branson's first league contest without Kwentyn, who would have led the Bulls as a senior. 

His best friend, a fellow point guard, is spearheading the foundation effort, and admits he misses his teammate constantly. 

"Practices are weird, school is weird, and it's going to be tough," said senior Peyton Mullarkey, who has played alongside Kwentyn since freshman year. "Hopefully we'll make him proud and it's like he's our sixth man on the court, he's going to be with us all the time." 

On a video several years ago, Kwentyn was asked how he would want to be remembered. 
"In a positive way," he responded, "and just know that I made the world a better place."

Those who knew him say he achieved that and more in 17 short years. 

"It just came naturally to him, if you were around him, you just felt special, everyone did," said Mullarkey.