Trevor Deloach: An unlikely hero

Tyler Heffernan | Sports Editor

When Trevor Deloach scored the game- winning three-point shot at the buzzer against Georgia State, he ran to press row, leapt on the table and held his hands up in jubilation. Trask Coliseum erupted in cheers, celebrating Deloach’s late-game heroics.

For the junior guard, it wasn’t about him, though. “It was just a blur, and I was happy that we won,” Deloach said.

As the first player off the bench, Deloach is accustomed to not getting as much recognition as the starters. Despite being one of the highest scorers on the team, head coach Buzz Peterson has chosen to utilize him as what Deloach describes as “mostly an energy guy.”

“Everybody wants to start,” Deloach said. “That’s what you work for, to start. But, I mean, my role coming off the bench as a sixth man, I can accept that.”

It’s that kind of selfless attitude that has the UNC Wilmington men’s basketball team surprising everyone by avoiding the CAA cellar thus far. The buzzer-beater not only improved the Seahawks’ record to 8-6 overall and propelled their conference record to 2-1 at the time, but it also catapulted an unlikely hero into the spotlight.

Deloach admitted he was not even an option in that final play, but the Saluda, S.C. native was left open on the wing as point guard Chad Tomko was swarmed by two Panther opponents. Tomko passed to Deloach, who hadn’t made a shot all game—until then.

A true gym rat, Deloach spends anywhere from one to two hours in the gym by himself every day, in addition to team practice. “I always say I’m gonna come in (the gym) at least once, but sometimes I just get bored at home and just come into the gym (twice) because I don’t have anything else to do,” he said. “I just like the atmosphere.”

His healthy basketball addiction even led him to celebrate the New Year in Trask Coliseum. With his Bible in hand, Deloach was dropped off by teammate Keith Rendleman and his girlfriend to be with his significant other—basketball.

“I love this game, and I feel like this year is going to be a great year for us,” Deloach said. And I just wanted to bring it in with my Bible in the gym, and that’s what I did.”

When the ball dropped in Times Square, he took a break from shooting solo to tweet on his Twitter account, “Last person in the gym in 2010. First person in the gym in 2011.”

Denver Nuggets star forward Carmelo Anthony once said, “Why wouldn’t I want the last shot when I know I’ve already made it?” Through tireless practice, Anthony worked to be prepared for any situation by shooting every shot imaginable.

With countless hours of practicing in Trask Coliseum under his belt, Deloach was prepared for the busted play against Georgia State. When the primary options failed, Deloach relied on the same dedication that brought him in the gym on New Year’s to lift the Seahawks to an improbable victory. Why would the player who had missed his only three field goals of the game want the weight of the entire contest on his shoulders? Normally, the evening’s struggling shooter wouldn’t want that kind of responsibility. Not Deloach, though. Even before that shot, he already made it.