Star Player’s Death Leaves Gaping Hole in Lineup, Family Finances
(Middle Southeastern State, NE) - A sense of shock still reverberated around the campus of Middle Southeastern State University Friday, one day after All-American point guard and virtually certain first round NBA pick D'Moron (D-Lo) Lohandro was gunned down during a convenience store robbery five blocks north of the Middle Southeastern State campus.
“I don’t know what to say,” head basketball coach Duke Rawlings said in a press conference Friday afternoon. “Our kids don’t know what to say. We’ve had our whole season taken away from us. One week away from the conference tournament and something like this happens. And I’ll tell you, there’s nobody on the bench who can fill D-Lo’s shoes out there on the court. You might be able to replace the person, but there’s no way you can replace the player.”
According to police, Lohandro and several of his friends were involved in the attempted robbery at 3:14 a.m. at Presto’s Pit Stop, 1184 Poeurville Road . The 6’8” Lohandro, who was currently leading the Prairie State Conference in scoring and assists and was third in rebounding, was allegedly acting as the trigger man when he was shot and killed by store owner Ligui Presto. Three other accomplices were taken into custody without further incident. Although the motive is uncertain, police speculate that the desire for money may have been a factor.
“To tell you the truth, I don’t know much about D'Moron as a person,” Rawlings said. “I’m a basketball coach, not a parent. D'Moron was an incredible point guard, and that’s about all I know. Maybe he was just a kid in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I’ll tell you, I never could say that about him on the basketball court.
“I can’t imagine what his parents must be going through at a time like this,” Rawlings added. “I mean, to go from a son that was a certain first-round draft pick, instant multimillionaire, product endorsements – and just like that, it’s all gone. D-Lo always talked about how after he was drafted he was going to buy them a new home, but now they’re just stuck where they are. Sure they’ve got other kids, but do any of them have that kind of earning potential?”
When Rawlings was asked by a reporter how his team was coping with the sudden tragedy, he lost patience. “How do you think they feel?” he snapped. “To find out that your starting point guard, averaging 25.4 points a game, 9.2 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and thirteen triple-doubles this season, is gone just like that? And it’s not like he’s just on the disabled list or something like that. He’s never coming back. And you can’t rebuild that kind of team chemistry just like that, not this late in the season. How would you feel?”
Starting center Cliff Williams spoke of the surprise many of Lohandro’s teammates felt. “D-Lo was just this, you know, stud on the court. But his personal life? I’m surprised this didn’t happen earlier, you know? He was always messing around with the wrong people, goin' places he shouldn't be, doing crazy things like wearin' masks that covered his face, stuff like that. How he lasted this long, I don’t know. I’m so surprised, I can’t talk about it no more.”
Said Rawlings in summing it up, “It truly is a tragic day, not only for the Middle Southeastern State University family, but for D-Lo’s family as well. After all, anyone can have a kid – but a point guard is something special."