Buford student 'always shared kindness with others'

Another in an almost unthinkable run of tragedies struck the Buford community again this weekend.

Jeremy Nelson, a 12-year-old seventh-grader in the Buford system, collapsed Saturday night during a Gwinnett Basketball League all-star game at the Suwanee Sports Academy and died later at Gwinnett Medical Center from what friends and family assume is a heart-related issue. It's the fourth death of a young person from Buford in less than a calendar year.

Nelson has a twin sister, Jessica, who also plays basketball for Buford's seventh-grade team, and an older sister Kristina, a senior on the Wolves' high school team and a Notre Dame signee.

"Jeremy was a very kind young man and an excellent student-athlete," Buford City Schools superintendent Geye Hamby said in a school release. "Jeremy had a presence in the hallways and on the court. He was a young man that always shared kindness with others and one that the students enjoyed being around. His very pleasant demeanor will be missed by all."

Jeremy Nelson, a talented, 6-foot-4 athlete, was beloved his his classmates at Buford Middle School both on and off the basketball court.

"He was one of those well-rounded kids, a kid you want your kid to hang out with and you wanted your kids to be like," Buford Middle principal Rachel Adams said. "He was a great young man and he comes from such a lovely family."

Though his father Herb was a football player at Grambling, Nelson preferred basketball. He played in the GBL and with the Buford seventh-graders.

"He's a special kid from a special family, with a strong Christian background," said Adam Gower, Nelson's Buford seventh-grade basketball coach. "All his peers looked up to him in the classroom, in the halls and on the court. When he spoke or had a question about history or a basketball play, he had everyone's attention. Jeremy was a great competitor, even if he was not sure of an answer his hand would go up first. Several times in the classroom, Jeremy would be very smooth by talking basketball to get me off subject.

"On the court, it was the same results. He would not allow anyone to out do him. Rarely, if a player made a great move on him, he would come right back at him harder and stronger. Jeremy was a dynamic ball player and could play any position with his speed, skill level and height. Basketball was everything to Jeremy. Jeremy's love for the game of basketball is what gave us a connection and that made it very enjoyable for me to teach and coach him. But the one thing I will miss most about Jeremy Nelson is his delightful smile."

The Buford City Schools system still hasn't returned to classes from its holiday break. The teachers resume work Monday and the students come back for classes on Tuesday.

Though all of the previous tragedies have hit the middle school students, too, this one will be particularly hard for those youngsters. Adams expects Tuesday to be an emotional day and plans to help grieving students as much as she and her staff can.

"We're going to have a lot of counselors there and just be there for the kids," Adams said. "We'll let the kids determine what they need and we'll provided everything we can, certainly a lot of support and love."

In less than a full calendar year, the Buford community has dealt with multiple deaths to beloved figures, beginning with Buford grad and Wolves football coach Ryan Daniel. He collapsed during a pickup basketball game in January, 2012, and died.

Buford student Adam Smith died in similar fashion during a September basketball workout. Former Wolves football player Devin Durden, Gene's son, was in a horrible motorcycle accident and passed away in October.

"It's hard to think about what the community has absorbed in a short period of time," Buford athletic director Dexter Wood said. "I don't even know the words to describe the emotions you feel. Of course right now, we're not thinking about us. We're thinking about what happened to a 12-year-old and thinking about his family."

Return to www.gwinnettdailypost.com for updates.


R says...

There are no words...

Posted 6 January 2013, 5:36 p.m. Suggest removal

NewsReader says...

Absolutely there are no words. This community has gone through so much in the past year. Let's hope and pray that there is no more tragedy.

Posted 6 January 2013, 5:54 p.m. Suggest removal

Don says...

This is sad and I feel for the family .

The question of concern here is why is this only happening in Buford? IS it that they are placing too much emphasis on youth sports and not enough on medical awareness? It would seem that they need to start a very thorough medical evaluation process prior to playing. I do know they push these kids to the limit in their training starting a a young age. Is winning really worth the lives of our youth we need to ask?

I honestly think Buford needs to wake up and get a grip on what is happening in their town and youth sports High School included).

Posted 6 January 2013, 7:36 p.m. Suggest removal

NewsReader says...

Don, any time tragedy happens, it is natural for people to look for a cause and answers to make any sense out of it when in many instances there simply aren’t any answers to be had. I don't think there is anything out of the ordinary happening here other than just a sad set of circumstances and set of events that have unfolded over the last year. There is nobody or nothing to blame.
It is part of the grieving process to look for answers, but I do believe there are none to be had here. We're all sorry for the losses that have occurred and are thankful that not more have occurred. God bless this school, this family, and this community. They have gone through so much.

Posted 6 January 2013, 10:50 p.m. Suggest removal

StuGuy says...

Don, you do not know what you are speaking about. Dating back 18 months Buford has lost a 14 year old killed by a drunk boater, a 8 year old with juvenile diabetes who didn't play sports in Buford but went to sleep one night after playing with friends to not wake up the next day, a 30 yr old coach who was taking a spin class one night & collapsed playing pickup BBall the next morning, a 16 year old who had a freak heart issue that nobody could have known about...the best doctors in the state had cleared him, a 21 yr old die in a motorcycle accident that wasn't his fault & now this. So you please tell me how much of this is Buford's fault or even has to do with youth athletics outside of the valuable connection & relationships these people had in our community?

Buford has possibly the best medical staff of any city or school in the state. This is in no way any indication of any wrong doing, misplaced priorities or neglect by anyone in the Buford athletic community. Please apologize for you false comments now.

Posted 6 January 2013, 10:34 p.m. Suggest removal

StuGuy says...

Above post was intended for NewsReader not Don. I apologize.

Posted 7 January 2013, 7:51 a.m. Suggest removal

NewsReader says...

Seriously StuGuy? Please explain to me why it was intended for me? Oh, and please apologize for your false comments now!

Posted 7 January 2013, 8:37 a.m. Suggest removal

StuGuy says...

Because I'm an idiot & when I read it this morning I thought I had made a mistake with who posted what. My fault. It was meant for Don & made sense with his response. I'm sorry....I'm tired. You are right NewsReader.

Posted 7 January 2013, 11:01 a.m. Suggest removal

StuGuy says...

NewsReader, I see what I did now. When I originally posted I was right under Don's & somehow your comment got bumped above mine. When I read later I saw yours was directly above mine & didn't read it. Just made a correction thinking I had accidentally made my original post to Don, when in fact it was supposed to be to Don.

Posted 7 January 2013, 11:05 a.m. Suggest removal

Don says...

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Posted 7 January 2013, 7:26 p.m.

Danam says...


Everything that you are saying is completely offensive. I am a member of the Buford community and have two youth athletes. Sports are a part of all of our lives but absolutely are not more important than the health of our children! These kids are not pushed or made to play by any means!
As for why a student was home from school has NOTHING to do with his death and is none of anyone's business, less of all yours!

We have dealt with a long string of freak accidents and bad circumstances but there is nothing going on in Buford that doesn't go on in every town in America. We have the most caring coaches and medical staff possible!

You really should stop running your mouth, your words are hurtful and absolutely uncalled for.

Posted 7 January 2013, 8:46 p.m. Suggest removal

MrBuford says...

It's beyond apalling that you and those like you would use such a tragic event to bash Buford.

You have no clue as to what you say. Our kids in Buford are not pushed beyond thier limits and the medical staff at Buford is better than most college athletic medical staffs. This incident did not happen at a Buford sponsored event.

You should apologize for your insensitive comments....

Posted 8 January 2013, 7:49 a.m. Suggest removal

NewsReader says...

Well, thanks for the correction StuGuy. As for Don, I don't know what he said that was removed, but I can only imagine. Perhaps he went to go get his sign to wear before he gets into any more trouble.

Posted 8 January 2013, 8:08 a.m. Suggest removal