Remembering Dion Ford: Tournament raises money in name of slain St. Paul athlete

Star football and basketball player Dion Ford Jr. turned heads with his athleticism at St. Paul Central High school. The 2019 graduate would eventually score 1,000 points for longtime head coach Scott Howell.

"The sky was the limit for him," Coach Howell told FOX 9.

"I think he had like four to five game winners our senior year," Dion’s teammate and best friend Khai West added. "He carried a lot of the load."

But after graduation, Ford Jr. was studying engineering at Augsburg University when his life was cut short on Mar. 31, 2022. The 21-year-old was shot dead in an apparent St. Paul robbery attempt.

"Things like that happen, but you never think it’s just going to hit home like that," Howell continued. "And that hit home, it hit the school, it hit the community, and it hurt everyone."

RELATED: Basketball showcase raises money for scholarship fund honoring slain former Central High athlete

Once an inspiration to his community, now Dion is their motivation to make a better future for generations to come. Less than a year after his death, his teammates and classmates are working hard to ensure his name lives on forever.

"To remember the kid, you’ve got to remember the legacy that he left here," Howell said. "And we’ll never forget him."

On Saturday, at the first annual Dion Ford Classic, organizers raised money to support the $1,500 Dion Ford Athletic Scholarship.

Saturday was not easy for Dion’s mother Danita King. But she finds peace in knowing her son is still making a difference for his city.

"It means a lot to keep him going and his presence throughout Saint Paul," King said. "He would be, I think, very appreciative and thankful of what’s going on, all the love and support."

This year, organizers plan to award six scholarships in Dion’s name