Bembry still coping with brother's death

One Hawk will wear an NBC uniform in his hometown for the first time-- but he'll do so with a heavy heart.

DeAndre' Bembry understandably still has trouble talking about it.

"I still cry almost every night," he said.

Bembry was the Atlanta Hawks first-round pick in this summer's NBA Draft. But unlike many other first-rounders, when Bembry's name was called by commissioner Adam Silver, there was no walk to the stage. 

There was no nationally televised hug with his closest friends and family.

That's because on June 11, 12 days before the draft, Bembry's younger brother Adrian Potts was shot and killed in Charlotte.

He was 21 years old.

"When that happened it was a heartbreaker," said Bembry, who will return to Charlotte with the Hawks on Friday, "we still can’t get over it now."

Bembry and Potts grew up together in Charlotte, but Potts followed when Bembry transferred from Rocky River, to St. Patrick's, a prep school powerhouse in New Jersey.

"We was with each other since we was born," Bembry said. "We used to always fight but we loved each other, that's what brothers do."

And visions of an NBA career were grand for the pair.

"He had confidence in me," said Bembry. "We talked every day."

Bembry went to St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, separating the brothers for the first time.

"It was my first week on campus and I got a call from," Bembry recalled, "him crying because he missed me."

But Potts was a regular on campus, and Bembry went on to become the 2015-16 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, averaging 17.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

Those NBA dreams were becoming a reality. But less than two weeks before the draft, Bembry walked in to the family's home in New Jersey when his mother got the call.

Adrian had been taken, his family says an innocent bystander in a shooting in the University area.

"It's been a hard process dealing with this," said Bembry, who moved his mother to Atlanta as the two continue to cope.

Bembry wears the No. 95, a remembrance of the year his brother was born. He's expressed interest in being involved in gun prevention events and movements.

On Friday he'll step in to his hometown arena, and remember the brother who dreamed of that moment.

"And here I am," Bembry said. "I'm just trying to take it day by day."

 

 

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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