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RALEIGH – Jalen Latta has been added to the NC State women's basketball staff as the team's graduate manager, as announced by head coach Wes Moore. Latta makes his return to the Wolfpack after spending three seasons as a student manager.

"We're excited that Jalen is staying in our program," said Moore. "He's been a dedicated and tireless worker the past three years as an undergraduate manager. Now, as a Graduate Assistant, he'll not only be involved on the court but also in assisting the coaching staff with administrative responsibilities. He's a great person that has a bright future as a coach, and I'm glad he's back with the Pack!"

Latta gained experience in multiple aspects of team operations after joining the program as a student manager prior to the start of the 2018-19 season. In that role, he assisted with practice drills, scout team work and equipment needs/bench procedures during games. Latta also worked with various analytics softwares to provide data and video for practice and opponent scouting preparations, in addition to helping the Wolfpack staff with player development training sessions.

A native of Stamford, Conn., Latta is well-versed in the fundamentals of coaching and developing basketball players. He served as head coach for the Stamford Peace AAU boys team for multiple years and has experience in clinic, camp and one-on-one training settings. 

"Being offered this opportunity to come back to NC State and work with this amazing program is such a blessing," said Latta. "Words can't express how thankful I am for Coach Moore and the staff for entrusting me with this position. I've prayed countless times for a role like this to present itself, so for this to now be my reality, I just have to give thanks to God! Wolfpack Nation, it feels good to be back with the Pack."

Latta earned his undergraduate degree in Sport Management from NC State in May. He is now pursuing a Master's in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Communication, Leadership, and Sport.

“Basketball is just a tool for us to get an education. When we first got here we focused on school work first. From 2 to 4 you will find us (at the Stamford Peace office) doing homework, then going to the gym, then home and that’s it. The way I see it, we are not just athletes, we are ambassadors.”

There is a photo of Dimitry Moise and Contavio Dutreil taken the day they were leaving Haiti for the United States.

Both are shirtless, revealing their skinny frames, with Moise in tattered Nike basketball sneakers and Dutreil in flip-flops and cut-off jean shorts being held up by a piece of rope.

Not exactly the picture one would paint of two prized basketball recruits.

That is because they were not prized basketball recruits, but rather two skinny 15-year-olds who, while having natural athletic gifts, had only played pickup basketball in their hometown of Gonaives, Haiti.

Since their first day on the court for the Trinity Catholic basketball team three years ago, they have been viewed as mercenaries, brought in to boost Trinity’s hoops program and nothing more.

Opponents, fans and media alike often view them as such.

The young men say the reality is far from what many believe.

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