Drugs may have been involved in Valrico teen's shooting death

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Investigators with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office say a drug deal gone wrong may have led to the death of a high school basketball player with a promising future.

Jayquon Johnson, 17, was shot at a home on Cabbage Palm Drive in Valrico on New Year's Day. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he died of his injuries.

According to deputies, Johnson may have been involved in an altercation over a drug transaction prior to the shooting.

Grief counselors were brought into Brandon High School on Tuesday. Johnson was a sophomore who played center on the men's basketball team.

"People wanted to be around him. People wanted to stand next to him. People wanted to know his name," said basketball coach Jamie Turner.

Turner said that although Johnson stood at 6'10" he was like a big "teddy bear," always smiling and bringing positive energy into every classroom or locker room he entered.

"Great student, great athlete, great brother, great son. Jayquon Johnson was an overall great kid," said Turner.

Turner said Johnson was being recruited by multiple universities for basketball scholarships including the University of South Florida, the University of Virginia, the University of Texas and the University of Louisville.

"The school that he really enjoyed was the University of Louisville," said Turner. "I remember Jayquon telling me, he said, 'Coach, I will do anything I can to make sure I come to school here.'"

Students and teachers spent much of Tuesday mourning the loss of Johnson.

"They're gathering, they're writing poems, they're making remarks to counselors, they're hugging each other and so, our desire is to make sure that we respect their space," said Principal Jennifer Sparano of Brandon High.

A men's basketball game versus Jefferson High School, planned for Tuesday night, was canceled.

No one has been charged yet in Johnson's death. Hillsborough County investigators said they have interviewed the suspected shooter, who was still on scene when deputies arrived to the shooting.

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