TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- The Sun Devils had to wait until the final segment of the Selection Show to find out their post-season fate. The roller coaster of emotions could be summed up by watching the video of senior Zylan Cheatham's reaction.

The Phoenix native transferred home from San Diego State. He sat out last season and on numerous occasions gave the Sun Devils an energy boost during an up and down season.

Cheatham plays on, despite personal tragedy. On Dec. 29, on the way home from a disappointing loss to Princeton, Cheatham got a call from his father.

His brother, Wanyaa Stewart, had been shot. Cheatham  rushed to the hospital but Stewart passed away. He was 10 months younger than Zylan, his brother from his father's side.

"I got away from the south side, and that is where he continued to stay. Unfortunately, he got into gangs and just kind of running with the wrong people. It was a very unfortunate situation,” Cheatham said on Jan. 2, after returning to the team. “He chose that path and it was really tough accepting it. Even knowing what he was doing, you just never expect this to happen. When it did, it’s just devastating. I have had many sleepless nights over it.”

The two went to school together in junior high. Cheatham went to Westwind Prep Academy for high school and lived away from south Phoenix. He returned to spend time with his brother on Christmas day, four days before the shooting. Police have made an arrest in the case.

On Selection Sunday, Cheatham opened up once again about his late brother.

"Every game, I keep my brother's obituary with me. I figuratively talk to him. I know he's looking down on me, happy. This is something he would definitely be excited about," said Cheatham. "Obviously it doesn't bring him back. It doesn't make the situation any lighter but it's definitely a step in the right direction."

The Sun Devils tip off the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Dayton, Ohio against St. John's.  It's a chance for Cheatham to tell his story to a whole new audience.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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