Brian Lewis spoke to Caris LeVert (and his college and NBA coaches) about what is the dominant trait of on-court personality: His calm. And what shaped it: his father’s sudden death from a heart attack at age 46.
“With his father’s sudden death he had to become an adult at a very young age. He had to become the man of the house,” Michigan coach John Beilein told The Post. “In his first year, there wasn’t the leadership yet, just the calming attitude and a lot of confidence. … We tried to redshirt him and he was just killing us in practice every day. As soon as we put him in the game, it was like it was just natural.”
Darryl LeVert, a graphic designer who had played Division III hoops himself, died suddenly on Easter Morning when Caris was 15. It was he who had to call his mother, Kim, visiting relatives in Washington, D.C.
“For sure [it molded me]. I was the oldest male in the house from when I was a sophomore in high school, so I definitely had to grow up a lot quicker,’’ LeVert said. “I had to do things that I wouldn’t have had to do if he was still living, had to make certain decisions for myself, had to try to mentor my brother while I was still a little kid, too. It was definitely tough, but it forced me to grow up.”
“I’ve always seen [Caris] to be a no-nonsense type, always had a good head on his shoulders,” Kim LeVert told The Post. “He always had a sharp sense of who he was. He took in the things I tried to teach him.”
Kenny Atkinson sees that calm, that no nonsense trait with the Nets.
“I’m surprised he’s this far along considering how long he was out in college and not having a whole lot of time with us in the summer. … But from a personality standpoint, it was part of the reason why we drafted him. He’s got a calm about him,’’ Atkinson said. “He looks like he’s about 15, but he just carries himself [with] maturity for a guy that young. It’s impressive.”
As we noted last week, when Sergey Kushchenko, Mikhail Prokhorov’s chief sports adviser, was asked on Russian TV who he thought was a “core piece” on the roster, he named LeVert.
The Nets have big plans for him, although they are currently treating him with kid gloves, making sure he isn’t overdoing it. After all, his newly reconstructed foot isn’t even a year old.
“I was never really worried about that,” he told Lewis. “Because, life [toughened me]. I’ve been through things in life that are way worse than a foot injury.”
- How father’s tragedy molded the person Caris LeVert has become - Brian Lewis - New York Post