DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke's Krystal Thomas and Florida State's Alexa Deluzio have known each other since their AAU basketball days. But their friendship has grown into a sisterhood of sorts.
After Thomas' father, a police officer, was imprisoned for drug trafficking and counterfeiting, her mother died of breast cancer when she was 16. So Thomas and her four younger siblings went to live with Don and Sheri Deluzio, who already had four children of their own. Krystal's father, Victor Thomas, was released from prison in 2007, and has since taken back his three youngest children. In late January, the Deluzios, Victor Thomas and eight of the nine children were on hand at Cameron Indoor Stadium as Duke met Florida State. Read Mechelle Voepel's story on the extended family, and click on the video links below to hear their stories in their own words.
Making the dream a reality
From a young age, Krystal Thomas dreamed of attending Duke and becoming a doctor.
Alexa Deluzio and Krystal Thomas started out as friends. Now, they consider each other family. "I'm so blessed to have her and her family in my life," Deluzio said.
The game of life
Watching Alexa and Krystal compete against each other in the ACC is amazing. But Don Deluzio says, "What these two girls have been through together kind of dwarfs the fact they're playing each other. They're playing a much bigger game of life and really succeeding."