CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The buzz inside the Olympic High School gym tells you everything you need to know about the school's relationship with basketball.
Packed bleachers fill the gym, with fans cheering on the Trojans to what they hope is a state championship.
It's not an unrealistic expectation with the Trojans playing some out-of-this-world basketball amidst a 13-game win streak, fresh off a conference championship as the playoffs draw near.
They're playing their best basketball since winning the 2013 state championship and they're doing it without one of last year's stars, Aaron Barker.
Barker is the youngest of four boys, but was one of the biggest standing just over 6'3, weighing 225 pounds, an elite athlete according to family and friends.
"He was an outstanding football play but basketball was his thing," said his mom, Sharon Barker. "He wanted to, of course, play for a DI college and hopefully go the NBA. That was his dream."
A sophomore starter, Barker's potential was expansive and untapped when the unimaginable happened on January 21, 2017.
It's the day Aaron would play his final game of basketball.
"It was just a regular Saturday," Sharon recalled.
Aaron practiced with his teammates then returned home that afternoon.
"I walked in, asked him how was practice. He said practice was good, I gave him a kiss, told him I loved him. He said he loved me," she continued to recall. "Maybe about an hour and half, not even, later, Taron was coming in my room saying Aaron was unresponsive."
They found him on the bathroom floor, unconscious. Sharon and then later the paramedics, tried to revive him but Aaron was gone.
"The worst day of my life," said Sharon.
Some 10 months or so after Aaron's death, the autopsy came back inconclusive. No foul play, barely a trace of caffeine.
"Undetermined? There has to be a reason a happy, healthy child dies one day."
Aaron was found to have a slightly enlarged heart but since there was no pre-existing condition, it can't be ruled a cause of death.
The Barker family has struggled to find peace without the light of their family. They rely on a small circle of family and friends to help them cope. Sharon has also found comfort in basketball and Aaron's teammates at Olympic high school.
"No one will it," Olympic Boys Head Basketball Coach Baronton Terry says of Aaron's #33 jersey.
"I told them I didn't know how to deal with it but I do know that it's part of the plan," said Terry, who won a state a championship at West Charlotte.
Barker's teammates say Aaron brought out the best in people.
"He was a big part of what we had and he always brought energy to the gym, always made people happy," said Jalen Harris, a senior forward.
"Aaron was like my brother," said junior Jalen Barr.
The Trojans wear a special #33 patch on their jersey, always keeping Aaron with them as they've ascended back into the echelon of North Carolina High School basketball.
Sharon tries to go to every game.
"I'm fine when the JV boys are playing, the varsity girls but when the varsity boys come out and they don't call his name, it takes everything in me to not go crazy in that gym because he's supposed to be there."
Sharon and her boys have started an AAU basketball team in memory of Aaron.
Olympic heads into the state playoffs as the 8th best team in the state.