Bill Self wins NCAA title while his Adidas reps sit in jail

UConn men’s basketball transfer Nahiem Alleyne brings a new family of fans with him

When former Virginia Tech guard Naheim Alleyne decided to transfer to UConn, his biggest fan and his family from North Carolina were ready to adopt the Huskies.

“This message is for the UConn [men’s] basketball team,” Dani Jo Hearl said in a video she posted on Twitter on Wednesday. “I just want you to know a little bit about Naheim Alleyne. His nickname is ‘Nahiem The Dream.’ Naheim is the best person you can find. He’s a great player and an even better person. … I’m going to miss Naheim at Virginia Tech. He was one of my best buddies.”

Alleyne entered the NCAA transfer portal after the Hokies’ season and committed to UConn last week.

Dani Jo Hearl, 14, has attended Virginia Tech men’s basketball game for several years. She has Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system that affects her breathing, and Hirschsprung’s Disease, a birth defect resulting in missing nerves in her bowels. She uses a number of medical devices, including a ventilator. It could be fatal if she falls asleep without it.

When her health allows, she goes to games and has made friends among the players, frequently tweeting out videos on the Hearl family’s account, expressing her support, wearing her Virginia Tech gear head to toe and shouting “Go Hokies.” Her love of the Hokies and their players been a welcome diversion from all she deals with.

“When she said they are her friends and family, they really are,” Dani Jo’s father, Joey Hearl, told a local TV station in 2019.

“You-all better take good care of him up there,” Dani Jo concludes on her video. Naheim, I love you and I’m going to miss you. You’re going to be great at Connecticut. Go Huskies and go Hokies!”

High-profile UConn fan Marc D’Amelio, social media personality and father of TikTok stars Dixie and Charli D’Amelio, immediately stepped up with an offer to bring the Hearls from their home in Mount Airy, North Carolina to Connecticut for some Husky- hospitality-style.

“This is beautiful,” D’Amelio tweeted. “The D’Amelio Family would love to host you in Storrs for game. Pick the game and we’ll take care of everything. Flights, hotel, transportation, tickets.”

Dani Jo’s message touched the hearts of UConn fans. Huskies faithful on Twitter assured her Alleyne will be welcomed in Connecticut.

“We got you, Dani Jo,” one tweeted.

“Well, this is awesome and you better believe we’re gonna take great care of him for you,” read another response.

Dom Amore can be reached at damore@courant.com

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