By Luke Strickland
LOVEJOY — Lovejoy graduate Devona Stell will continue her college basketball career at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, N.C. beginning this fall.
Stell was previously at St. Petersburg College but was released just before the start of the upcoming school year. In hopes of continuing her career, Stell participated in a showcase game to try to catch the attention of a college coach.
“I was worried about what’s my next step. There were no colleges communicating with me,” Stell said. “So I signed up for a showcase game and I was just sitting by my teammates waiting on my time to play….later, watching the showcase games, me and a random lady started talking — come to find out she had recruited someone I knew and she knew the coaches that tried to recruit me.
Stell averaged 8.7 points and 13 rebounds per game during her junior season at Lovejoy in 2015 to earn All-County and All-Region honors. However, she tore her ACL in 2016 and missed her entire senior season. Stell has worked hard since her injury to return to 100 percent, and she feels like she is finally there.
“I am fully recovered from my ACL injury — no knee brace or anything,” she said. “I have nothing no longer holding me back. I feel better and mentally stronger.”
ECSU is a Division II school that competes in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. It is a small Historically Black College and University, which drew Stell in with its beautiful campus. Stell plans to major in biology.
“Words cannot express the joy I have for Devona,” Lovejoy head coach Cedric King said. “She is using basketball as an opportunity to improve her quality of life. She continues to persevere and I know she will do an outstanding job at Elizabeth.”
With a fresh start and a full bit of health, Stell is anxious to get back on the court with her new team.
“I will play like I have something to prove at ECSU. I will prove that I’ll be successful with my career,” she said.