Star basketball player to transfer

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Photo by Hannah Green.

University of Dallas men’s basketball star, Spencer Levi, has decided to transfer out.

The 6-foot-7 freshman forward is transferring to the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. UNC Pembroke is a Division II school in the Peach Belt Conference. The UNC Pembroke men’s basketball team made it to the Division II Sweet Sixteen last season, and is the current reigning Peach Belt Conference Champion.

“I came here with the intentions to let whatever happen happen,” said Levi.  “My goal was to come here and study, because I know [UD] is a very rigorous academic school.  It was going to help me out no matter what. I didn’t know if I was coming here for one year or if I was going to finish out my whole career here.”

UNC Pembroke made Levi an offer Dallas could not compete against, a full scholarship to play basketball. Division III schools cannot give athletic scholarships, while Division I and Division II can, and this financial incentive was the primary reason behind Levi’s decision to transfer.

“I got offered a full ride [by UNC Pembroke],” said Levi.  “It makes my cost of attendance to go where I’m going next year a lot easier for me and my family.  [UD] is a very costly school out of pocket.”

Levi led the Crusaders this year in points, rebounds and blocks this year and won Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Newcomer of the Year as well as D3hoops.com Newcomer of the Year.

A free education was not the only reason behind Levi’s decision to transfer. UNC Pembroke also offers multiple degrees in criminal justice, Levi’s preferred major, while UD does not.

“I’m trying to be a US Marshall,” said Levi.  “I know criminal justice would definitely help out.  I could really get any degree and it would work out, but criminal justice would definitely be the front and center winner.  You never know what going to happen later on down the road. If it comes to it, if I have to chase Harrison Ford for the rest of my life I can live with that.”

The final reason behind Levi’s decision is that his parents now live in South Carolina, and UNC Pembroke is just half an hour away from the South Carolina border. Although Levi is originally from St. Louis, Levi’s family moved to the east coast shortly after he arrived at UD.

“My family lives in South Carolina,” said Levi.  “I’m from Missouri, but my mom and dad live in South Carolina, and the campus is only about an hour and a half, two hour drive.  It makes it easier on me when I need to go home for a weekend. I’ve only seen them twice the whole time I’ve been in college. I didn’t see them at Christmas or Easter.  That’s kinda what’s been going down.”

Levi mentioned that while he will be away at Pembroke, he will still have the Crusaders on his mind.  He believes that the Crusaders will find a way to flourish without him, and that they will make a joint effort, as a team, to fill the void that he will leave.

“Darrius in what he has done in his three years here already is crazy,” said Levi.  “I think he’s senior year is going to be monstrous. Josh Nunn and Mike Wambsganss I think are going to have major impacts scoring and distributing.  I think the whole team’s going to come together. I feel like they are going to fill it, and then some. They are going to figure out what’s going to work for the future, I have no doubt in my mind.  They are going to do better things than what we did this year.”

UD basketball head coach Jarred Samples declined to comment on the matter.

Levi’s teammate Josh Nunn spoke on Levi’s decision.

“Whenever you are losing the D3 Newcomer of the Year, of course you are going to be disappointed,” Nunn said. “Spencer is a tremendous player on the court and one of my best friends. I think Spencer will find his place at UNC Pembroke. Next year without his ability to block most shots and protect the rim we are going to have to play a lot more solid defense.”

Along with his teammates, Levi also mentioned that the thing he will miss most at UD is the people.

“[I’ll miss] the people,” said Levi.  “As the year has gone on I’ve built a lot of friendships.  It going to be hard, especially leaving the people who show me their utmost respect.  I’m trying to show it back to them. I’ll definitely be back to visit, to see people I saw this year.  Whatever happens, [UD] is where my journey started.”

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