Northland Grad Overcomes Setbacks To Get To Big Dance


James Madison senior Devon Moore has seen his fair share of setbacks.  

His sophomore year, the Northland high school graduate was set to open the season with a homecoming game at Ohio State.  Just days before that game, he tore his ACL and missed the season.  

But that setback doesn't begin to compare to the news Devon got before this season.

Focused and ready, Moore was set to make the most of his senior season at James Madison but then came a phone call from his mom that rocked his world.

"I got something to tell you.  And it came out.  I dropped my phone,” said Moore. “She screamed my name a couple times.  I picked up the phone back up.  Tears, I could tell she was crying.  I was crying."

Devon's mother, Carolyn, had brain cancer

"I don't think any college kid would ever want to go through that.  Not even a college kid, just a kid period.  I don't they ever want to go through that," said Moore.  

He was devastated.  He considered giving up basketball.  But his mother wouldn't allow that.

"She definitely pushed me and told me to stay in school and finish out and enjoy myself.  I definitely appreciate her for that," said Moore.

So Devon stayed in school, continued with basketball, and made the trip home to see his mom as much as he could.

"I was definitely worried, and I didn't necessarily want to enjoy college knowing that any given day I can get a call saying she isn't here anymore," said Moore.  

With so much weighing on his mind, Devon’s ability to push forward came as no surprise to those close to him.  That includes his high school coach at Northland, Satch Sullinger, who said basketball not only became an outlet for Devon, but also for his mom.

"She gets to watch her baby, you know what I mean.  It takes her away from what she's doing, what her battle is,” said Sullinger. “It gives all of them a chance to come all together, even if not in the same venue, they're all together in that same moment."

No moment was bigger than when Devon helped James Madison win the Colonial tournament allowing him to finish his college career where every player dreams of playing - in the NCAA tournament.

“It's an amazing feeling.  I definitely can't sum up how I really feel, but I'm definitely blessed and glad to be here,” said Moore.

Devon said his mother is doing better.  She is currently out of the hospital but not well enough to travel.  

He said she will be in front of a TV Wednesday night, proudly watching as her son lives out this once-in-a-lifetime moment when James Madison faces LIU-Brooklyn in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio.