Deveaux: ‘Heart and soul of the team’

Featured Image: Junior Omari Deveaux maneuvers a shot over two defenders in a game against Salisbury University on Friday, Nov. 10 in the Townebank Tipoff Tournament. James Hill | Courtesy

In the heart of the basketball court, where passion, skill and hard work collide, there stands a player whose journey reflects dedication, family influence and a commitment to both personal and team growth. Omari Deveaux, a standout player on the Men’s Basketball team, embodies the essence of leadership, resilience and a love for the game that extends beyond the court.

Deveaux’s journey into the world of basketball was practically inevitable, as he hails from a family deeply rooted in the sport. “I grew up in a basketball family. My parents both played. So everybody, cousins and other family members, play basketball. It’s kind of mandatory,” Deveaux said with a smile.

At the age of four, Deveaux’s love of the game began under the guidance of his father, who not only introduced him to the league but also became a significant source of inspiration. “My dad just went out and taught me what he knows,” Deveaux said. 

As the years rolled on, Deveaux’s family continued to be his steadfast support system, making sacrifices and facilitating trips for him to compete. “My parents and my best friends have been my biggest fans,” Deveaux said. 

Motivation for Deveaux is deeply personal, centered around his younger brother, who looks up to him as a role model. “He watches my every move, and he’s my little guy. I want to be a role model to him,” Deveaux said.

As a leader on the team, Deveaux embraces his role with a sense of purpose. “Just the leader, you know, the vocal guy. Making sure guys are in the right spots, just talking, communicating, getting other guys to communicate, and just bringing the energy,” he said.

However, recent challenges have thrown a curveball into Deveaux’s season. An unfortunate injury of a hyperextended knee during a game sidelined him temporarily, presenting a hurdle that he faces with a mature outlook. Reflecting on the possibility of the season ending prematurely, Deveaux said, “I wouldn’t be mad. You know, things happen. You’ve got to have acceptance.” His resilience and determination shine through as he plans on making a comeback and continuing to contribute to the team’s success.

Teammate Miles Wallace, a graduate student, shed light on Deveaux’s impact, and described him as a star player who leads the team through thick and thin. “When guys aren’t playing as well as they’re supposed to be, he’s the guy that tells us to lock in, focus and just regroup as a team,” Wallace said.

In the face of adversity, Wallace envisions a scenario where Deveaux’s leadership extends beyond the court. “If he’s not playing, I would say not that [he’s] an assistant coach, but that kind of responsibility, making sure everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing, everybody’s locked in all the time,” Wallace said.

Graduate Intern Joey Lee, who transitioned from being Deveaux’s teammate to his coach, highlighted Deveaux’s positive influence on the team. “He’s the heart and soul of the team. He’s a leader, he’s super vocal, and he just brings it every day on the court,” Lee said.

Reflecting on Deveaux’s future, Lee sees a path towards professionalism. “I see him playing basketball somewhere, whether it’s overseas, or if he makes it to the NBA G League, anything like that,” Lee said.

Looking ahead, Deveaux sees a future beyond the college courts. “I definitely want to play overseas if I can get there. And then when I’m done, I definitely want to stick around basketball,” he said. His aspirations include contributing to the development of young talents, passing on the knowledge he’s gained through years of dedication to the sport.


By Maria Vittoria Chessa