This was Dec. 9, 2015 in Hartford near the intersection of Albany Avenue and Baltimore Street. Police got a 911 call about a possible shooting. This was around noon, seven and a half hours before the Albertus Magnus basketball team was to host Brooklyn College.
"They were outside on the corner play fighting," Jaqhawn Walters said Wednesday. "One of them took it serious. They were ready to peace it up, and as my father gave the guy a hug [the guy] started stabbing him. All his friends thought he was patting him on the back, but it was actually the knife going into him."
Joseph Lindsey was rushed to the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in a private vehicle. He was pronounced dead of multiple stab wounds at 12:33 p.m.
Jaqhawn Walters' father was 45.
"It hit me hard," Walters said. "My father was like my best friend."
Coach Mitch Oliver, who has built a highly successful Division III program at the small Catholic liberal arts college a mile north of the Yale campus, talked to Walters' mom, Trician Salmon, that day. He sat with Walters.
Walters took a few hours to himself. He returned with a message to his coach.
"I want to play."
"Are you sure?" Oliver asked.
"I need to."
"This is more important. You need to deal with this."
"It will help me."
Walters played all 40 minutes of a 106-89 victory over the previously unbeaten and No. 17 team in the nation. He scored a then career-high 28 points. He pulled in 12 rebounds and handed out four assists. He played his heart out.
"It's so impressive the way he has handled it," Oliver said.
There are different roads to get to the 64-team NCAA Division III Tournament. Walters and Hugh Lindo of Eastern Connecticut have taken two of them. And while Walters' dedicated journey following his father's murder stands apart as a moving one, the two share some remarkable similarities.
Both are their conference's player of the year. Lindo in the Little East. Walters in the GNAC. Both are central Connecticut guys. Lindo was a star at Enfield High, Walters at University High in Hartford. Both have led their teams to the NCAA Tournament. Eastern will play MIT Friday at Susquehanna in Selinsgrove, Pa. Magnus will play Rochester that night in Rochester, N.Y., and will face Wesleyan, the third state team in the tournament, if both win their openers.
Perhaps most striking is both are double-double machines.
Walters, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, is second in the nation with 22 in 27 games. Lindo, a 6-4 senior, is sixth with 19 in 28. They share the same descriptive adjective.
"Jaqhawn's motor is always running," Oliver said. "He never seems to get tired."
"With Hugh, it's his intensity, his motor," Eastern coach Bill Geitner said. "He is the hardest working guy out there. Every possession, he's nonstop. For guys our age, you talk about a guy like Dennis Rodman on the offensive glass. Everywhere, all over the place.
"Keeping balls alive, deflections, offensive rebounds, he's impossible to box out. He is a game changer with his athleticism and his tenacity."
Lindo played on a strong Enfield team with Trachone Preston, who would go on to graduate last year from Eastern as a 1,000-point scorer.
"I would have guessed Tra would have had the better college career," Geitner said. "It was one of those things where you saw this undersized 4 man who is athletically gifted, but how does that translate to the college game? What you didn't realize was Hugh's motor, that ability to outwork guys transcended to college, and his skill level would dramatically improve."
Geitner says he thinks a double-double is in the back of Lindo's mind, not for the points but because he is always worried about his rebounding and the elbow-grease stuff. For the second year in a row, Lindo, who is averaging 14.8 points and 12.6 rebounds, was named Little East defensive player of the year.
"He scores off transition, offensive rebounds," Geitner said. "He may set a goal of 16 rebounds and that leads to all these double-doubles.
"Not only defending his own man, but his ability to come off the weak side and alter and block shots is like a secret weapon. He is kind of the heart and soul of our team, the guys feed off of his energy."
Lindo's motor will be challenged this weekend. His shoulder popped out in the 72-70 tournament championship victory over Keene State. It was popped back into place and he was able to finish the game, but the shoulder remains tender.
Eastern's leading scorer Tarchee Brown, a junior guard from Rockville, hurt his ankle. Center David Canny, the senior center from Torrington, hurt his knee.
"We're a little bit of a MASH unit," Geitner said. "I believe they will all go in one shape or another, but I don't know if any will be 100 percent. Hugh, he'll make sure he's out there."
Lindo and Walters share something else: an irrepressible attitude.
"Hugh's just a likeable kid," Geitner said. "He'll walk around campus, happy, smiling. He has that 'it' personality."
"Jaqhawn's positive energy isn't just on the court," Oliver said. "He's bouncing around campus, saying hello to everyone, getting along with everyone. He respects the administration and teachers. They're always asking, 'How is JQ doing?'''
It was Oliver's running, transition style that attracted Walters. Oliver saw a high school talent he thought could flourish in his system. He saw a big kid who had a terrific handle.
"But it was his motor, really," Oliver said. "He always plays hard. So many kids in high school play hard in spurts. This guy does not stop going."
Yet it wasn't until after his freshman year that Oliver was convinced he was an all-league player. Coming off a Sweet 16 appearance, the Falcons had loads of experienced talent. Walters played more than the other freshmen, but he also did plenty of watching.
"To go from five-six minutes as a freshman to conference player of the year as a junior is a great thing for all kids in college to see," Oliver said. "So many don't get playing time right away and they're not happy. They transfer. They leave. Here was a guy who understood, went through the whole process. I'm so proud of him."
Walters, averaging 20.7 points and 13.4 rebounds, was named the GNAC Tournament MVP after the Falcons beat Lasell, 101-83, for the automatic NCAA bid. Asked how he felt, he thought about all he had been through.
"It felt great," Walters said. "I grew up in the North End, it's kind of troubled over there. Basketball kind of shied me away from the violence going on.
"My father was there, he would pick me up when I was down. When I was happy, he'd make me happier. He was always on me, always had me in the gym. I couldn't go to sleep without doing 100 pushups."
If he did, he'd feel something tapping on his chest. It was dad.
"I'd do my 100 and go right back to sleep," Walters said, laughing. "We would win a game by 30 in high school. We'd get in the car and he'd go, 'Good game, but guess what? Three turnovers, five missed free throws, c'mon, we're going to the gym right now to work on it.'"
Walters said his father was stabbed something like 13 times that December day near the corner of Albany and Baltimore. Brock Davis, of Enfield, was arrested three months later in Springfield and awaits trial on a murder charge.
"That day changed me as a person," Walters said. "In a blink of an eye someone can leave your life. I'm a brother to all his kids. Now, I feel like I'm a father figure and need to set an example.
"It shook me up so bad I was thinking about leaving school. My mom told me I had to stay and get my degree, do what he wanted me to do."
Walters is on track to get his bachelor's degree in the spring of 2018.
"My mom went to Goodwin College, she's a nurse, but I'm the only male in my family who has gone to college,' Walters said. "My family wants that degree."
He'll get it. The motor is running.