Coach Rick Barnes reflects on the passing of Kobe Bryant

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Tennessee head basketball coach Rick Barnes had never met Kobe Bryant, but he did get to see the legendary basketball star in action before embarking on his storied career.

Kobe Bryant (MGN)

Barnes remembers seeing Kobe play at a summer AAU even while Bryant was still in high school and recalls how special he was even back then referring to Kobe as, "the greatest high school basketball player he had ever seen."

Coach Barnes was not on the UT campus Sunday when the news broke. He was attending the funeral of his brother-in-law. However, the coach says his assistants were and gathered the Tennessee players into the locker room to share the tragic news. He says when they told the them what had happened, guys started crying. Coach Barnes says his players want to wear purple shoelaces in honor of Kobe Tuesday night when they host Texas A&M at Thompson-Boling Arena. Barnes says, " that shows you the kind of impact that a guy like Kobe can have."

Rick Barnes coached Kevin Durant in college and says he sat down with Kevin watching tape of Kobe Bryant and told him, " you need to add this to your game."

He's a guy that for so many years coaches used him because he's a guy that every body wanted to coach.

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