The van rolled slowly toward the cruiser, with Kenna on the passenger side and Hogan now on the driver's side. The troopers couldn't see each other, and that made them more anxious. Kenna raised his gun with both hands and pointed it at the window, and Keshon dived from the driver's seat onto the floor behind the passenger seat, where he curled into a fetal position. The van kept rolling.
"Don't shoot, don't shoot!" Danny hollered at Kenna while raising his hands. Rayshawn, who was asleep in the van's middle seat, still fights back tears when he tries to tell what happened next: He woke up to the sound of gunfire.
The trip south had been Keshon's idea. He knew the coaches at North Carolina Central. He made the calls. He collected the $76 from each passenger for the minivan rental, gas and tolls. He decided who would be picked up where and when.
"I was excited," Keshon says. "I was strong. I was hitting the weights. My game was flourishing." He speaks softly, politely, his head down. When your father is a retired U.S. Coast Guard petty officer and your mother is a corrections officer at Riker's Island, a New York City jail crammed with some of the most violent criminals on the planet, talking back is out of the question.
"My standards were very high," Keshon's father, Rodney Moore, says. "Keshon was always shy, very respectful. He never gave me any problem."
The basketball world is full of Keshon Moores, 5'9" point guards who refuse to believe they're too short until they wake up one morning with no scholarship, no direction, only a jump shot and a dream. For every Dana Barros, Travis Best and Damon Stoudamire, thousands of Keshon Moores dot the playgrounds around the country. As a military brat, Keshon bounced from Spain to Arizona to Texas to California and finally, in 1987, to the Coast Guard base on Governor's Island in New York Harbor.
At Curtis High, Keshon's grades were mediocre, his skills solid. "If it wasn't a layup, Keshon didn't take the shot," recalls Tim Gannon, Curtis's basketball coach and assistant principal. "He was very unselfish, the prototypical point guard." He led the team to the 1994 Staten Island championship and finished as the school's alltime assist leader.
Keshon went on to Westchester Community College, in Valhalla, N.Y., where he hoped to improve his grades as well as his game. After two years there he got a scholarship at North Carolina Central, a Division II school, but he didn't stay long. With two point guards ahead of him, he redshirted and quickly lost interest in school. He returned to New York, moved in with a girlfriend in Manhattan and worked occasionally as a barber and a security guard. "I was hurt and depressed for a while," Keshon says. "My pops, he was mad at me."
That's an understatement. "I was devastated," Rodney Moore says. "He was treated royally, and he didn't take advantage of his opportunity. Get your bachelor's degree and then decide what you want."
Now, in the spring of 1998, Keshon was determined to give North Carolina Central a second try. He would go to summer school and try to walk on with the team. Basketball practice was to start on Saturday, April 25. Keshon planned to enroll as soon as he arrived on campus on Friday.