ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s important to remember as games get shuffled around due to COVID-19, these are just the smallest impacts of the pandemic. For Green Tech basketball senior Dayshaun Walton, not only has he had to deal with COVID on the court, he’s had to deal with it’s harshest realities off of it.

In June of last year, Green Tech basketball head coach DJ Jones received a phone call he’ll never forget. “I got a phone call, ‘Can you get in contact with Dayshaun?,'” Jones said. “‘His mother is in the hospital and his family is trying to locate him.'”

Dayshaun had visited his mother in the hospital the night before, but her battle with COVID-19 had taken a turn for the worse. “I just remember him coming over like a little baby and just crying in my arms for a good five to ten minutes,” said Jones. “That’s just a moment I’ll never forget.”

Dayshaun’s mother Sandra Carlisle passed away at the age of 50. “At first, it didn’t seem real at first,” said Walton. “Then it came to reality it was real, so I just had to stay focused and keep doing what I got to do.”

His mother’s tragic passing only brought Dayshaun’s family closer together, but he also found solace within the Green Tech basketball team. “I feel like this is my second home,” said Walton. “I can talk to these guys like they’re my own family. They give me advice and encouragement to keep going.”

Dayshaun has always found comfort in the game of basketball. “I fell in love with it ever since I was a little kid and I just kept going and I got better at it,” said Walton. “I’m a competitor. I like to compete.”

The game now also serves as a motivating force to make his mother proud. “Everything I ever needed and ever had was because of her,” said Walton. “I just feel like I have to keep going and keep doing what I have to do to make her proud.”

He’s surely done just that. Dayshaun is averaging 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists per game this season, all while maintaining a 3.2 GPA. The senior has his eyes set on a state title, Division-I college basketball, and ultimately the NBA, all while keeping his mother’s lessons in mind. “She always told me, never take anything for granted,” said Walton. “Life is too short.”