Local coaches react to news of Kobe Bryant’s death

Coaches at East and West both discussed the tragedy on Sunday

VICTORIA, Texas — News of the death of 18-time NBA All-Star and basketball icon sent shock waves around the sports world on Saturday, with a pair of local basketball coaches addressing the tragedy as well.

East boys basketball head coach John Howie and West boys assistant Cody McDonald both addressed their reactions to the news on Sunday.

“It’s a really sad day for the basketball world,” said Howie. “The basketball universe is a lot smaller today. I’m really sad, he was one of my favorite players. And I just feel for his family right now, and how they’re going to deal with this tragedy.”

McDonald said his players took the news particularly hard.

“They’re in disbelief,” said McDonald. “Some of them were actually going to play basketball today at the Y, and we’re talking about how they were sick over it, the same way that I had felt.”

Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed in Calabasas, California on Sunday morning. Among the other victims was former University of Houston baseball captain John Altobelli and his wife and daughter.

Altobelli played with the Cougars in the 1980s and helped them reach the NCAA Regional Finals his season year.