KINGSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island senior men's basketball player Will Leviton realized a dream Wednesday afternoon when he became a full-scholarship athlete.
Head Coach David Cox gathered the team, Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn and staff members in the film room and discussed the attributes of team.
"Obviously we have won the last couple years, and the reason we have won is that we have talented players and an incredible synergy between the staff and the players," Cox said.
After rattling off the names of several key performers returning players from last year's regular-season championship team, Cox began talking about Leviton.
"There is also an individual in here who gets zero recognition, and he's probably the hardest working individual I have ever been around in 20 years of coaching," Cox said. "This is a kid who has character. He is a God-fearing man, and he embodies the word team."
With that, Cox read the words, "To William Leviton from Coach David Cox, it is with great pleasure I offer you a complete, in-state, athletics-related scholarship."
As Leviton put his head in his hands, his teammates clapped and engulfed him with congratulatory hugs. Leviton originally joined the program as a student manager before making the team as a walk-on his sophomore season. Over the last two seasons, he has appeared in 14 games.
Cox had once more surprise for Leviton, bringing his mother, Aline Beatrice Eyegue, into the room to share in the moment. An emotional Leviton embraced his mother before addressing the team, with her by his side.
"Coming from where we have both come from... My mom is a single mother and my dad wasn't around in my life," Leviton explained. "She had to work two jobs. She put me through Catholic school. She put me through public school. The one thing she always taught me was to work hard and that if you do the right thing, God will see it all. She said, 'Never complain. If they don't see it, it's okay. God will see it all.'
"When I came here out of high school, I didn't believe I was going to play basketball again. Nobody recruited me. All my friends, they got recruited. They all played big basketball, and I didn't. But I always had the dream. It was just a dream, and I would pray to God every day."
Those prayers were answered Wednesday.