‘Misfits’ from NC Central get chance in Big Dance

March 15, 2017 GMT

LeVelle Moton can sum up the North Carolina Central University men’s basketball team team in one word: Misfits.

On the surface it’s not exactly an endearing term, but North Carolina Central’s coach says once you own that slight and find the comfort in discomfort, the differences make you the same.

“We’re just from different areas that have those labels. I’m from north New Jersey. That has a very negative label,” said Patrick Cole, NCCU guard and MEAC player of the year.

“When you look really at the portfolio of everyone, including myself, we were all have-nots or misfits, coming from humble beginnings. We weren’t given this opportunity or that opportunity,” Moton said in the hours before his Eagles would tip off in the First Four, the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The Eagles own little section of Durham has been a save-haven of second chances.

Look no further than the seven seniors, none of whom first committed to Central, but all of whom ended up there, together for one reason or another.

“People said we weren’t gonna make it. For a lot of us, they said we weren’t gonna get this far, and we were voted out,” forward Kyle Benton said.

“We all have different reasons why we’re doing this,” Cole said. “I’m trying to do something so that I can show kids from my city that, hey, you can make it out and do something with your life, you can become something with your life.”

Moton says if you’re going to be a misfit, a have-not, a part of the least-respected, why not go out and get a reward for it?

That could come in the form of the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament win when the Eagles meet UC-Davis in Dayton Wednesday night.