COUNTY NEWS: Tributes paid to student who died in snorkelling tragedy
LOVING tributes have been paid to a ‘polite, hard-working and dedicated basketball player’ who died tragically in a snorkelling accident in Malaysia.
Jake Andrews, 21, of Lancing, drowned while diving with a group of friends off the islands of Pulau Perhentian last week.
Jake, who was a student at the University of Nottingham, had been a much-loved member of Worthing Thunder’s junior basketball team for about four years, playing from under-15 to under-18 level.
He even helped lead the under-16s squad to one of its best seasons ever, coming fourth nationally.
This week, his former coaches and friends have been paying tribute to an ‘intelligent young man’.
Steve Nelson was his under-16s coach. He said: “My memories are of a really polite, nice young man with great morals. He was a fantastic teammate and a great athlete.
“He was unbelievably quick and very good a very good high jumper.
“He played pretty much every game. He was just such a great kid
“We are all hurting because he is one of ours. For him to go under such tragic circumstances must just be horrible for all his friends and family.”
Jake had been living in Ningbo, China, where his university has a campus.
Steve, who has coached the Thunder’s junior sides for 11 years, added: “The fact that he was studying in China says a lot about the bravery, skill and intelligence Jake had.”
Worthing Thunder head coach Daniel Hildreth also paid his respects.
He said the club would be organising a memorial match in Jake’s honour.
Paying tribute to Jake, he said: “He was a very talented and explosive player and a great joy to coach.
“He always went the extra mile for his teammates spending many hours creating highlight videos after each game.
“His competitive spirt was second to none and he was a special part of the Thunder family, as they all are.
“His support and love for the game was extended to his younger sister, Asha, who has already excelled at a very young age and I know she will play every game with the passion of her older brother.”
Daniel added: “Words can’t express the deep sadness we all feel at the club but are just glad that we had Jake as part of it.”
Jake is understood to be leaving behind his mother Ann, father Adrian and sister Asha.
Steve added the club’s thoughts were with Jake’s family.
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