"When something like this happens, true love comes out," Odom's high school basketball coach tells PEOPLE

By People Staff
Updated October 16, 2015 06:35 PM
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Credit: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty

Lamar Odom‘s former youth basketball coach and mentor Gary Charles is celebrating the news that the former NBA star has woken up after four days in a coma.

“I just got word not too long ago that he’s up. He’s responsive. He asked to see his kids, and that he spoke with Khloé, so that’s a good sign,” Charles tells PEOPLE.

Charles says he last spoke to Odom in July, when the star told his former coach that he wanted to get his life back on track.

“When something like this happens, true love comes out. Once he gets out of this tough situation, he will have learned that there’s a whole lot of people rooting for him and letting him know they love him,” says Charles. “And I think that s going to help him.”

One of Odom’s former NBA colleagues is also celebrating the good news.

“It’s a blessing,” recently retired NBA player Shawn Marion tells PEOPLE. “I’m pretty sure a lot of people have been praying for him.”

On Friday afternoon, a source confirmed to PEOPLE, “Lamar is conscious and was able to say hi to Khloé.”

“But his condition remains guarded,” the source added.

When Odom was admitted to the hospital Tuesday after being found unconscious in a Nevada brothel, he had cocaine and opiates in his system, a source also confirmed to PEOPLE.

Odom’s estranged wife Khloé Kardashian and the rest of her family – with the exception of Rob Kardashianall rushed to be by Odom’s side in Las Vegas upon hearing the news.

Khloé remains by his side in Las Vegas, but on Thursday her mother Kris Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian and sister Kim Kardashian West returned to Los Angeles.

Reporting by MIKE MILLER and DARLA ATLAS