A Story of Resilience: Devontae Cacok’s journey from UNCW to an NBA title

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)–Just a few years ago, former UNCW men’s basketball player Devonate Cacok was suiting in the Seahawk colors. Now, the Georgia native is a world champion with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Cacok won two CAA titles while at UNCW in 2016 and 2017. The one he captured on Monday night in Orlando means just as much to him.

“If you would have told me a year ago when I was working out in Wilmington that the next following year I’d be with the Lakers and win a championship my rookie year I don’t think anybody would expect anything like that,”says Cacok. 

It was a year full of memories for the former UNCW great. He began his professional basketball career in the NBA’s G-League playing for the South Bay Lakers. Just a few months later he would sign his first two-way NBA contract with LA before eventually landing in the bubble with the Lakers for the leagues restart. Cacok says he would do it all over again to be apart of a historic championship run.

“I learned so much from these guys that this is something that nobody will ever be able to take away from me,”Cacok said. “The experience, the learning, just watching and listening to these guys just talk about the game of basketball. It’s what I’ve been saying the whole entire time, it’s just legendary honestly.”

Cacok had a legendary career himself at UNCW. He is the all-time leading rebounder and 4th in the schools history in points scored. He says this year reminds him of his first year in the Seahawk colors as a freshman. Now, he’s ready to take similar step from year one to year two for the Lakers this summer.

“I think of this year just like my freshman at Wilmington,”says Cacok. “I wasn’t playing much, nobody really knew anything about Devontae Cacok. I knew going into that next summer I was going to be grinding, getting ready, and showing my determination. It’s going to look very similar this summer as well.”

Through all the fame and attention that has come along over the past few days, Cacok is staying grounded and thanking those who have been there for him since day one.

“My fans, the people that support me, the people whose been around and know who I am I appreciate each and everyone,”Cacok said. “They got to see me become an NBA champion. I appreciate everyone of them just supporting me and always being there and being positive for me.”

Sunday night’s title makes Cacok the first player from UNCW to ever win an NBA title. It is yet another accolade added to his long list of accomplishment in the game of basketball.

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