A product of Seattle’s rough Deuce-8 neighborhood, Peyton Siva lived on turf disputed by three separate gangs. His sister was an habitual shoplifter. His older brother joined one of those gangs and started dealing drugs as a teenager. And his father…well, that was the worst part. When he was around, it was clear he was addicted to those drugs. All too often, he wasn’t around at all.
At age 13, with his mother working three jobs and his dad gone missing, Siva taught himself to drive. He wasn’t out to start a new life, just pick up the pieces of his old one. Peyton went out in search of his father, and eventually found him in a drug den with a gun in his lap, contemplating suicide. Peyton talked him out of it, saying he had big plans for life and basketball, and he needed his father to be a part of it. It took some doing—this wasn’t the first trip Peyton Jr. had made to the dope house—but Senior finally agreed, and for good.
Today, Siva is far more than a national champion, two-time Big East Tournament MVP, or any of his other accolades. Now a devout Christian and working with the Louisville Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Siva also improved his average high school grades to become a 2013 Academic All-American. To any NBA teams looking to draft him, you can’t go wrong with this kind of player, or this kind of person.