NC Central’s Moton travels to tournament without family after son burned in accident

ldecock@newsobserver.comMarch 20, 2014 

— N.C. Central coach LeVelle Moton’s family did not travel with the team to the NCAA tournament after his 1-year-old son, LeVelle Jr., was badly burned Tuesday night and remains in the hospital.

Moton disclosed the accident during his pre-tournament availability Thursday. The 14th-seeded Eagles face third-seeded Iowa State in Friday’s late game. Moton said LeVelle Jr., knocked a cup of hot coffee off the counter and suffered burns to his face in what Moton described as “a dumb accident.”

“I wasn’t going to come until the doctors told me he was going to be OK,” Moton said. “I had to get that clarification. I was going to stay. I spent the night in the hospital with him. I wasn’t leaving. I stayed at the hospital and went through the proper requirements and team of doctors.”

This is N.C. Central’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament after beginning the transition from Division II to Division I in 2007. Moton, 39, starred at N.C. Central, graduated in 1996 and earned his Master’s degree from the school in 2013.

After the Eagles won the MEAC title Saturday, television cameras captured a weeping Moton on the bench after making eye contact with his daughter Brooke, 5, in the stands. When the team traveled to San Antonio on Wednesday, Brooke and Moton’s wife, Bridget remained behind in Durham with LeVelle Jr.

“I walk into an incredible hotel that looks like an apartment and I’m in there by myself,” Moton said. “It just doesn’t feel the same with my son and my daughter and my wife who sacrifice so much to allow me to become a better person and a better basketball coach, and this unfortunate situation, this unfortunate accident, and they’re not here. That’s my ritual before the game.

“So that’s humbled me. That’s put the pin to my balloon right there. So I’ve just got to get myself together, which I will, to go coach these 12, 13 young men that we have.”

Correspondent Edward G. Robinson III contributed to this report.

DeCock: @LukeDeCock, 919-829-8947

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