Damion Lee reflects on his time in Louisville

Damion Lee on future sanctions

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Damion Lee's hoop dreams aren't over yet.

“It was heartbreaking,” Lee said.

Lee still wants to play in the NBA but every time he thinks about what happened two years ago, it stings

“We got in trouble for something that we weren't a part of,” he said.

After leaving UofL, Lee played with the Miami Heat's summer league team and then went onto play for the Boston Celtic's Development League team, tearing his ACL and ending his season early. 

WHAS11 caught up with Lee recently.  He's spending time in Louisville rehabbing his injury. It's a city Lee says he'll always call home.

“It really showed how much this community values basketball and values a person if they're genuine,” Lee said.

Following the release of a tell-all book detailing parties in the basketball dorm with escorts and dancers, the University of Louisville made an announcement Lee feels changed the course of his future.

“I've made the decision to withhold the men's basketball program from all conference and NCAA post season competition,” said former President James Ramsey, UofL.

The city watched as former UofL players Damion Lee and another, Trey Lewis, shared their raw emotions.

“We were both hurt and devastated as soon as we heard this,” Lewis said following the announcement.

It was clear, the team had their backs

“I actually asked him if the whole team could stand behind us kind of as symbolism of unity.  I asked a couple of guys on the team if they were down for it and they said yeah,” Lee told WHAS11 referring to the team standing being him and Lewis during their press conference.

Soon the city would too. Lines of people waited for autographs and pictures, one-of-a-kind rings from Coach Pitino, and a key to the city from Mayor Greg Fischer.

“That was amazing.  And to be here eight months, we got keys to the city.  That was very special,” he said,

The fifth-year seniors finished out the school year and quickly moved on with their basketball careers.  Lewis signed with a team in Germany and was named new comer of the year.  When Lee isn't in rehab, he says he is working on way to give back to a city that gave so much to him.

“In the future I want to do things here in the city that are special because this city holds a very special place in my heart,” Lee said.

Their journeys are far from complete, but for the two fifth-year seniors who decided to take a leap of faith on Louisville there are no regrets.

“With or without what happened over the past year, past two years, there's no other school I would've gone to and I feel like everything happens for a reason,” Lee said.c

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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