Before LeVelle Moton was a college basketball coach or even a player at North Carolina Central, he was a young kid growing up in some rough neighborhoods in the 1980s.
The Boston native and long-time Raleigh, NC resident says that the transfer portal’s impact on college basketball reminds him of the crack epidemic.
“I’m a housing project kid. I remember the drug epidemic. It reminds me of when crack cocaine hit the streets when I was a kid. And it just for lack of a better analogy, that’s exactly what this thing reminds me of,” Moton said during the MEAC conference call. “It’s the wild, wild West. There’s no rules, there’s no values, there’s no trust, there’s no integrity. No one is standing on their word anymore. So it’s just it’s just chaotic.”
LeVelle Moton and North Carolina Central lost their leading scorer, Justin Wright, to the transfer portal, last season. He’s brought in 10 new players to rebuild his roster, which he says is now a part of the job consistently.
“The moral compass, the value system — that’s no longer in college basketball. It’s a straight business now,” Moton continued. “So we’ve become general managers instead of head coaches and it’s taken the spirit out of college basketball in all honesty, which I’m not complaining about because I’ll adjust to anything — that’s what we’ve done.”
NCCU is not alone in the MEAC or at HBCUs. Reigning champion Howard University lost three of its top four scorers. Moton says the reality is that bigger programs are eyeing their players and going to get them by any means necessary.
“You got to re-recruit your entire team every year and then you got to recruit your best players, because there’s tampering,” he continued. “You know, there’s high major coaches hitting up their AAU and high school coaches and selling you out behind your back.”
Moton challenged the media to take a look at senior nights and see how many kids will be truly emotional on senior night thanks to the new landscape.
“I remember my senior night I couldn’t believe this is the last game in this arena. And I was so thankful for what North Carolina Central did for me as a young man that developed me into a holistic totality of a man. I shed tears,” he continued. “I don’t see that emotion anymore because no one is invested in that. It’s just like, Look, I’m taking the best opportunity that I can possibly receive.”
NCCU was picked to finish third in the league behind Howard University and Norfolk State.