GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – Of all of the Colorado universities that are in the hunt for an invitation to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this year, the University of Northern Colorado has the best shot.

Much of the reason for UNC’s success lies with their star guard and Academic All American Devon Beitzel.

Beitzel’s parents divorced when he was young and his father was in and out of jail. His mother also battled a drug problem.

vic with kid Beitzel Overcomes Hurdles To Lead UNC Bears

Devon Beitzel with CBS4's Vic Lombardi on the UNC campus in Greeley (credit: CBS)

When he was only 14 he decided to take charge amid tough circumstances. He asked his best friend’s mother if he could come live in their home.

“He just point blank said ‘Can I come live with you?'” Joan Louth told CBS4. “And I said ‘Yes, I think we can do that.'”

He lived with Louth and her four boys through high school. And she was right there with him on UNC’s senior night, along with Beitzel’s real mom. If you look at the UNC website he lists both women — his real mom and Louth — as his parents.

“We get along really well,” Louth said of Beitzel’s mother. “She sends me thank yous all the time and she understands that Devin took a big step — being able to ask for that. And it was a big step for me to, to be able to say ‘Yes, I’ll do that.'”

devon Beitzel Overcomes Hurdles To Lead UNC Bears

(credit: CBS)

Basketball became a refuge for Beitzel. It was always there to shield him from the difficulties in his personal life. His coach B.J. Hill said there was never any sign on the court that Beitzel was struggling in his family life.

Beitzel graduates this May and already has a job lined up with a national accounting firm. Hopes are high that before then he and his teammates will be playing in the Big Dance.

Related Story: UNC’s Beitzel Selected As School’s 2nd-Ever Academic All-American

Link: Play In The Bracket Challenge


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