SAN ANTONIO — N.C. Central coach LeVelle Motons 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 Fridays 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 wasnt 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 wasnt leaving. I stayed at the hospital and went through the proper requirements and team of doctors.
This is N.C. Centrals 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 Masters 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 Motons wife, Bridget remained behind in Durham with LeVelle Jr.
I walk into an incredible hotel that looks like an apartment and Im in there by myself, Moton said. It just doesnt 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 theyre not here. Thats my ritual before the game.
So thats humbled me. Thats put the pin to my balloon right there. So Ive 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