NCCU’s LeVelle Moton named an assistant coach for USA Basketball’s U19 team

N.C. Central men’s basketball coach LeVelle Moton will represent USA Basketball for the second time.

Moton will join Kansas State coach Bruce Weber’s staff, along with Washington’s Mike Hopkins, to coach the U19 Men at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Crete, USA Basketball announced in a press release Tuesday.

Moton coached with USA U19 Basketball in 2015 as a court coach. This time, as a full-time assistant, he will have more responsibility and input on the product on the floor.

“It’s a promotion,” Moton said. “Instead of suggestions I’m making decision on whether or not this gold medal is coming back to the United States. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Moton will head to Colorado Springs on June 13 to start picking the roster with the rest of the staff.

A graduate of NCCU, Moton just wrapped up his 10th season as the Eagles’ head coach. NCCU made its third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament after winning the MEAC tournament title for the fourth time in the last six years.

In his 10 years as a coach at N.C. Central, Moton has an overall record of 189-135. Coaching basketball isn’t new to the Raleigh native, but he admits the stakes are higher when playing with USA Basketball.

“I’ve always had pride in my performance,” Moton said. “Once they throw the ball up you’re thinking this is bigger than what I’m a part of, it’s your country, you’re representing your country.

“Every kid grows up thinking about wearing USA across their chest,” Moton said. “It’s an opportunity that I am blessed to have.”

Moton said he learned in 2015 that the game is different when working with pros, or teens who have future pro potential, he has to bring a different approach to practice.

“They want you to coach them hard,” Moton said. “In 2015 we had Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, Josh Jackson, the list goes on. I walked in one day and Jayson was like ‘you bringing it today or not?’ They want to be coached.”

Moton is one of the most highly respected coaches in the business. Under him, the Eagles have made the NCAA tournament four times since the program moved to Division I in 2009. Being selected to work with USA Basketball for a second time means Moton’s peers are noticing the job he is doing in Durham.

“It means a lot. It’s a lot of incredible basketball coaches and minds who have to go through the process,” Moton said. “Once you’re selected, it’s a blessing to be respected among the people you always respected.”

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Sports reporter Jonas Pope IV covers college recruiting, high school sports, NC Central and the ACC for the Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.