After the coronavirus outbreak ended Mount Union’s season, the Purple Raiders guard and his family built what will eventually be a public basketball court in Florida.

D'Vontay Friga will never forget how he felt when his college basketball career ended without warning.


Friga and his Mount Union teammates were a day away from facing Wittenberg in the third round of the NCAA Division III tournament. Having won a school-record 19 straight games, the Purple Raiders were a national championship contender. Everything seemed perfect.


The coronavirus outbreak shattered their hopes and dreams. The disappointment still stings Friga.


"As soon as the coronavirus ended the season, I think I just froze up," Friga said. "I expected us to go further. We all did. We all knew we were going to keep going in the tournament."


Friga felt defeated. A week later he asked himself one question.


What's next?


Friga moved to Florida where his father, Scott, owns a construction company. He wanted to accomplish something while he was there. He wanted to provide more content for his popular YouTube channel, which now has more than 181,000 subscribers.


Basketball offered an inspiration. In five days Friga and his family built an outdoor court in North Fort Myers. The color of the court comes as no surprise.


Purple.


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"I don't like the idea of something defeating me," Friga said. "I felt defeated by the coronavirus ending my senior season, the year we're supposed to be national champions, the year we were going to be national champions.


"I was doing really good in basketball, and coronavirus cuts it off. I was doing really good with YouTube, and coronavirus cuts it off. Coronavirus ends me being able to go to parks and play basketball.


"I thought 'Why don't we build our own basketball court? ... Screw it. Let's do it.'"


Friga wants to make the court public when pandemic restrictions are lifted. There are plans to build a mini trampoline park next to it.


"People are excited for this to pass over so they can come out and play on it," Friga said. "Obviously I'm going to be careful until this is all over. It's going to be private until then."


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Friga hopes he can build a court in his hometown of Cuyahoga Falls and possibly one in Alliance sometime in the next three years.


"If I could have picked anywhere to do it, I would have done it in Cuyahoga Falls first," Friga said. "It doesn't really hurt for me to do it here either. It's a big opportunity, and I still have family here. Part of my life was Florida."


Friga was a 1,000-point scorer at Mount Union. His playing career may not be over. He said he has offers to play professionally in Spain and Australia. He also hopes to attend an overseas professional basketball camp in Los Angeles this summer.


He will have a clearer view of his future when pandemic restrictions end.


"Everything is on hold because we don't know what's happening," Friga said.


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