At the same time Nate VanDeventer was playing three sports for Columbus North, Luke Poindexter was doing the same across town at Columbus East.
Poindexter excelled at football, basketball and track and field for the Olympians before graduating in 2018. His exploits on the field, court and track live on in the wake of his tragic death last month in Indianapolis.
“I remember many battles against Luke,” said VanDeventer, now the athletics director at Central Middle School. “It was a lot of fun. I was a three-sport athlete, too, and I remember someone was talking three-sport athletes and that there aren’t many now these days, and Luke’s name was brought up. It takes a special young man to play three sports at a 4A, 5A, 6A high school the size of East or North, so I think it only says to his character and athletic ability, what kind of guy he really was.”
Poindexter was killed in a robbery attempt while working as a delivery driver. He was hoping to earn money to help support his son, who was born Sunday, with girlfriend Alexia Estep.
Central Middle School boys basketball coach Max Bumbalough reached out to VanDeventer and then to East coach Brent Chitty to get contact info for Poindexter’s father, Kelley. They then talked to Northside athletics director Cindy McCoy about setting up a fundraiser at Monday’s Central vs. Northside boys games.
“We just wanted to create a college fund for him that could support Luke’s son down the road,” Kelley Poindexter said. “Then, his son will be around to enjoy that and learn more about his father. We’re looking at putting a fundraiser together every year, more of a celebration of life than a fundraiser.”
The seventh-grade game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday at East. There will be a presentation to honor Luke, between that and the eighth-grade game, which likely will start around 8 p.m.
T-shirts will be sold at game. Raffle tickets also will be sold for a chance at a half-court shot at halftime of the eighth-grade game. Jars for donations also will be placed at East during the games. Checks should be payable to Central Middle School Athletics, and then VanDeventer will write a check from all the proceeds to the Poindexters.
“We’ve had tremendous support from people already on this,” VanDeventer said. “I’m expecting a humongous crowd at the game. The community has really shown a lot of love.”
Monday also will be Elementary Basketball League Night.
“We’ve been going around trying to get sponsors to help,” Bumbalough said. “We’re just trying to get the word out as much as possible, and with it being the EBL Night, we’ll have a lot of people hopefully there that understand Columbus basketball is bigger than East, North, Northside or Central. It’s Columbus.”
Bumbalough met Luke while coaching for the Columbus Elite travel program, when Luke and some of the other East players would stop by practice to help out.
“I have three kids who are in school,” Bumbalough said. “I’ve coached for 20 years, and when you see something tragic like that, you think, ‘Man, that could be one of my sons,’ and I think a lot of others in the community probably think the same way. These kids come through here, and they’re like all our kids. Even though you go to East or North or whatever, it’s kind of a family. You know these kids from all over. I’ve seen them grow up together. So hopefully, that’s a driving force that will get people out there, like, ‘Hey, it’s Columbus. Let’s back this young man and make sure his son has a chance to do what he can as he grows up.’”