DURHAM, NC — North Carolina Central University basketball is surrounded by traditions, and nobody knows that better than LeVelle Moton.
But the NCCU head coach says that now, between the NIL and the transfer portal, tradition doesn’t hold much weight when building a team. Moton should know. He trotted out a team with 11 new players in the season opener against Kansas on Monday night.
Following Thursday night’s home opener against Virginia-Lynchburg, a game in which his D1 squad beat the non-NCAA team 107-54, Moton said the changing landscape of college basketball is teaching him patience.
“You know, I ain’t never really been good at that, but patience and just learning is it’s a new day and age,” Moton told reporters after the game.
During last month’s MEAC media session, Moton compared the current landscape of college basketball to the crack epidemic of the 1980s in terms of it obliterating norms and traditions in the sport.
“I feel this transfer portal, it makes you adjust as a coach, right? So you can’t sell history to a player right now. You can’t sell banners and championships and Sam Jones and accomplishments and great education and great social life, and you can’t sell that,” Moton said. “They they do want to know how much money (you can offer)? So that’s what they’re leading with. So it’s hard. But you got to adjust.
You just got to make sure you adjust. And then when you assemble your team, you got to make sure you’re getting good characters and people that want to be here for the right reasons. Because at the end of the day, it’s bigger than them, it’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than everyone. It’s the name of that chance. And that’s North Carolina Central University.”
North Carolina Central University played VUL in between games against Power Five opponents Kansas and Georgia. It was a chance for him to learn more about his team and for his players to build their confidence as it prepares to go from the big fish to the little fish in Athens on Sunday.
“Kansas played us and they played us so they could feel good about themselves. Well, we want to feel good about ourselves, too. So hopefully we can feel good about ourselves. But we know we got to give a value, effort and, you know, be really limited in our mistakes. That’s the thing when you playing high majors, you know, and I love playing those games. Honestly, I’m up for the challenge. You got to be really limited because the margin for error is slim to none. “