Former U Prep basketball star Council Jr. hits game-winner; triumphs through family death

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (WHEC) – Wagner men’s basketball coach Donald Copeland demands toughness on the court. Former University Prep star Melvin Council Jr., fits his system. But in their game against St. Francis-PA, the mental strain was unbelievable.

“My legs were so tight, I couldn’t get my legs loosened up or nothing. It felt like there were weights on my legs the whole game,” said Council Jr.

Council made the trip from Staten Island to Rochester to attend his grandfather’s funeral. A delayed flight, layover in New York, and 45 minute uber drive later, and Council joined the rest of his teammates.

“We wanted to make sure he can be a part of that with his family, which is a difficult time, but having to go through that and come back and respond the way he did,” said Copeland.

Council played all 45 minutes and led the game with 20 points, but his game-winner in overtime displayed his toughness in an extraordinary way.

“I was just saying in my head, like I can’t go to another overtime, I’m tired,” said Council.

“You try to resemble the program on responding to adversity and that’s a living example of it,” said Copeland.

“I was just saying to my teammates, my grandad was with me that whole night,” said Council.

One emotion after another, toughness behind it all.