BEATRICE, Ala. (WKRG) — A former NBA player from Monroe County passed away Sunday in Houston, TX. Former high school teammates and friends in Beatrice are remembering one of their own.

“I was always in his shadow regardless of the situation, but I didn’t mind being there,” said Coach Jermone Sanders. Sanders played basketball with Drew at J.F. Shields High School.

“He was a standout. Always trying to carry the ball down with one leg up and go through his legs and lay it up. I said man why are you practicing this stuff. That’s just what he did he was phenomenal,” said Sanders.

Drew graduated high school in 1972. It’s where Sanders now coaches basketball. After high school, Drew went on to play in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks and the Utah Jazz, but a drug addiction would ultimately force him out of the league.

“You pay for your mistakes. I mean we all make them. I’ve made a few of them,” said Sanders.

Now, even after his death, Sanders and other friends are pushing to have his name in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. An online petition is circulating to make that happen.

“I just want to let them know here at J.F. Shields and in south Alabama he’ll never be forgotten. I’d just like to see him get his last reward that he’ll probably get and that is to be in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame,” said Sanders.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the petition already has over 300 signatures.

Drew was the first player banned under the NBA’s substance abuse policy and even though that seemed to ultimately dim the light on his career, those who knew him best hope the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame takes into consideration his achievements on and off the court.