Summer camp: Deloach basketball clinic a hit
By PATRICK MASON
Saturday, June 1, 2019
Moe Deloach grew up here.
And for Deloach, a 2005 Northern Nash graduate and professional basketball player in Romania, that’s more than enough to keep coming back.
On Saturday, the Rocky Mount native kicked off his ninth annual youth summer basketball camp held at the South Rocky Mount Community Center. More than 250 kids showed up for the free clinic, and every kid got a T-shirt, wristband, lunch, and a day of fun.
“I grew up here in Rocky Mount and it means a lot to me to be able to do this,” Deloach said. “I just love doing it. I want to help kids out and let them know they have a future and dreams. I wish I had some people come back and do this for me when I was young, and that’s what drove me to be a person to do this.”
Deloach, 33, assembled an all-star cast to help out with the activities. Tarboro natives and current NFL players Todd Gurley and Tyquan Lewis were in attendance, as was former Tarboro High and N.C. State basketball standout Marquetta Dickens.
Gurley, the Los Angeles Rams running back who hosted his annual youth football camp in Tarboro earlier this year, reached out to Deloach and asked if he could participate. Lewis, the Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman who is preparing to enter his second NFL season, was at the camp for a second consecutive year.
The two football players were the center of attention, posing for countless photos with campers, and drew a big crowd when they were participating in the drills.
In the past, the camp featured former NFL player and Tarboro grad Shaun Draughn, among others.
“It’s one of the biggest turnouts I had. It's perfect,” Deloach said. “It’s something good for the community. It’s a free event, and when you see Todd and Tyquan interacting with the kids, it’s great. I knew all these guys and they reached out to me wanting to help. So there’s a lot of familiar faces in there also.”
Deloach just finished his first season playing in Romania after six years of playing in Italy. The former Norfolk State player now spends most of his time in Europe playing basketball, but he still can’t imagine a scenario where he calls that home.
“Eastern Europe is different, but if I had a choice I'd go back to Italy,” he said of his career. “But I love home. I'm going to end up living here in Rocky Mount when it’s all said and done.”
And while the NFLers brought the star power and name recognition, Deloach is rounding into a star himself. A star in his home town. A star that the Rocky Mount community can rally behind. That’s his dream, his calling.
Deloach, who owns the downtown restaurant Moe & D’s, began his youth basketball camp in 2011 and it has grown ever since. It is now split across two weekends, with this past Saturday for ages 5 through 12, and June 8 for ages 13-17.
And even with close to 300 kids currently, Deloach is eyeing an even broader reach. The next step is to get the camp into the Rocky Mount Event Center as the event grows. When not reaching out through basketball, Deloach shifts his focus to his charity organization ‘Moetivation” with a mission to “empower and support the young people and the community.”
Deloach has also helped organize a bowling event to encourage unity in the community.
“There are kids that tell me ‘I look up to you,’ and ‘this is a great thing you’re doing,’” Deloach said. “They’re tagging me on Facebook, or I see them out at Walmart and they want to take pictures with me. They make me feel like a local celebrity and that feels good. I’m hands on, I like to get out and participate in the things I’m doing. I'm from Rocky Mount and they love me for that, so I’m going to continue to give back and do what I can do, and continue to help.”