In loving memory: KeDraun Buckner


Courtesy of Justin Piergrossi

August 18, 1997-Jan. 31st, 2018 — “Gentle, kind, supportive and humble…while excelling at what he loved to do.”

Many will say that a man’s life can be measured by how much he accomplished in life but really, what’s important is how people remember you after you’re gone.

Or in KeDraun Buckner’s case, one would find a long line of people who cannot help but glow about him.

KeDraun Buckner, former forward for Skyline’s men’s basketball team, died unexpectedly, on January 31st.

His teammates were brimming with stories, viscerally painting a image of who Buckner was in his life and their fondest memories of and with him, when asked to describe his personality.

“Like caffeine, he just hits you,” said Jake Salinero, a player on the basketball team. “His energy was really infectious.”

He had an innate ability to light up the room and the ability to make everyone happy, according to Salinero.

“He was always dancing, always straight with you, and made everyone feel welcome,” said Clayton, “Clay” Ladine.

Another team mate of Buckner agreed but emphasized a more familial connection to him.

“K.B. was fun to be around,” said Hunter. “He was a lil’ bro to me.” He then explained that Buckner would challenge him to one on one in basketball and give him advice.

Although he was on the basketball team, he also played other sports such as baseball, football and soccer.

Buckner was a kinesiology major and intended to pursue a career as a trainer for professional or collegiate sport, according to his girlfriend, Charme’ Noordzee.

“He was such a goofy, funny guy,” Noordzee reflected. “He was very helpful…if you ever needed advice, he would be straight up with you and wouldn’t sugar coat it.”

Their, “How We Met”, story could give many others a run for their money.

“We met back in high school,” said Noordzee. “He went to Galileo…in San Francisco and I went to George Washington. I had friends and my twin cousins that went there, so I used to always go visit Galileo. That’s how I met him. They told me, ‘He’s a really funny guy…and really goofy, you’ll get along with him well.’”

They lost contact for about 2-3 years and met back here, at Skyline College when she was taking placement tests and he was attending Spring workouts for prospective incoming freshmen who want to play on the basketball team.

“I was sitting here at this bench, right in front of the dance room and he walks in through the door…and I was on my phone. I look up, like, ‘Whoa, I remember that face, like, ‘Oh my god, that’s KeDraun Buckner!’”

“It’s funny because in high school I was taller than him,” said Noordzee. “Freshman year I was about 5’7 (or) 5’8 so that means he was about 5’6 (or) 5’5 and he was a chubby guy. So it was crazy to see him in college. He grew up so much. He slimmed down. He’s 6’3 and I’m 5’10.”

“We pretty much hit it off from there,” recalled Noordzee.

Buckner did make it onto the basketball team, and had eventually became a key player.

“He was our leader in a lot of ways: emotionally and physically,” said Justin Piergrossi, head coach of the men’s basketball team. “He knew when to have fun and when to focus. He touched everyone, everyday.”

“He was achieving his potential and we were happy for him,” said Piergrossi.

Buckner’s mother, Sharon Gray, was being inundated with hugs from all fronts when I spoke to her.

There has been no shortage of support for his family, with the basketball team putting forth all entrance fee donations for the men’s basketball games towards his family for the rest of the season’s home games.

“I am humbled by the Skyline family,” stated Gray. “I just want to thank everybody for all their love.”

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