By Cory James

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A tragic car crash took the life of a promising 15-year-old athlete on Long Island on Wednesday.

Jomani Wright, who went by “Jo-Jo,” walked the halls of Uniondale High School for almost two years. Those who knew him say during that time, he was a bright soul, an honor roll student and a dynamic basketball player who was Player of the Year.

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“This has been a struggle. Everybody loved him,” one man said.

The brotherhood bound on Uniondale High School‘s basketball court has been rocked.

Players stood in a circle in the school’s gym Wednesday night, grappling with unimaginable loss and trying to understand how their teammate, 15-year-old Jo-Jo Wright, unexpectedly died.

“Words can’t explain, man. This is tough,” one player said.

“Knowing I won’t be able to basketball with him really hurts,” teammate Jordan Evelyn told CBS2’s Cory James “He was always such a team player.”

Fifteen-year-old Jo-Jo Wright was killed in a car crash in Uniondale on Jan. 27, 2021. (Credit: CBS2)

Jo-Jo was killed in a tragic crash along Maple Avenue and Front Street in Uniondale.

Authorities say he was in the back of a Honda CR-V that hit a pole after colliding with a Toyota driven by an 87-year-old man around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Loved ones say Jo-Jo was in the car with three other teenagers, all of them heading to the gym to workout.

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“To meet with the mom at the hospital this evening and to hear and feel her cries and her pain, it’s nothing that you could ever be prepared for,” said Rhonda Taylor, acting superintendent of schools.

Jo-Jo’s coach says the starting point guard who was quick on his feet was not just a standout player; he was also a leader both on and off the court.

“That’s the difference. There are many people that try to lead and are not followed. He led as a natural and was almost followed instantly,” coach Tom Diana said.

Jo-Jo Wright (Credit: Uniondale High School Basketball)

Parents also saw his potential.

“He was a star in the making,” one woman said.

A star who the Knights say will continue to shine bright because they will always shine their light on him.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation by Nassau County Police.

The other two teenagers in the car — a high school senior and a recent graduate — were taken to Winthrop Hospital and were last reported to be in stable condition.

School officials say grief counselors will be available starting Thursday.

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Cory James