Buried in the countless human emotions emitted during the NCAA tournament — ND State’s Lawrence Alexander and his three, Cameron Ridley of Texas sinking a buzzer-beater — are the actual, real life situations that affect the coaches and players in the field.
Fran McCaffery and Chris Mack of Iowa and Xavier, respectively, have both had family health scares in the lead-up to the tournament tip, and it was revealed yesterday that the wife and daughter of NC Central coach LeVelle Moton did not travel with the team to San Antonio because the son was recently hospitalized after suffering burns to his body.
While thankfully it appears Moton’s son will not suffer any long-term injuries — he knocked over a cup of coffee — the absence of his family clearly affected Moton: “I walk into an incredible hotel that looks like an apartment and I’m in there by myself. 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.”
Being a college basketball coach is a 720 days a year job. There are countless hours spent on the recruiting trail, in practice, or prepping themselves and the team for the coming games. It is exhausting. Even when the recruiting calendar is dark, it never lets up, and we are witnessing the slightly hidden (but always there) fact that there are families involved in this cycle. From the families of Mack to McCaffery and now Moton, there are other people involved, and that goes beyond the brackets. This is NC Central’s first ever NCAA appearance, and while Moton is relishing the opportunity to showcase his team, the conference, and himself — during one of these coaching carousels, Moton will be a high commodity — it is unfortunate that the family suffered this scare in the midst of great celebration and can’t be on-hand to support.