E'Twaun Moore's voice never wavered with emotion.
When speaking about growing up in the violent neighborhood in East Chicago for the cover story to our NCAA tournament section, Moore was straight forward and matter-of-fact.
Yes, drugs were prevelant in the neighborhood.
Yes, he witnessed stabbings and violence.
Yes, he knows many people from his neighborhood who have died.
And yet, he never felt unsafe growing up on Guthrie Street.
"Most of the people that were doing the robbing, stealing and shooting, we knew them because they were in my class or it was somebody that my brother knew and all our generation," Moore said. "We definitely had no problems and everybody respected me and my whole family.
"For us, it was just normal. It was just daily life. We knew there'd be a shooting here, somebody fighting, somebody selling drugs. We just knew it. It didn't affect us."
Many in the neighborhood knew how talented Moore was as a basketball player. And they saw that could be a way out for him -- a chance to really make something of his life and succeed.
So they supported and protected him.
He even had drug dealers tell him to stay away from them and their lifestyle.
Moore's older brother, Ezell Jr., lived in East Chicago from when he was about 8 until he left for college at Tri-State in Angola. He had some challenges being the new kid in the neighborhood, but E'Twaun grew up there.
"We never really had a lot of altercations," Ezell Jr. said. "Mom and dad always made it seem like we were OK. We had food on the table and we had clothes on our backs. Mom kept a clean house. It was normal.
"Even though it was rough, it was just home."