EASTVILLE, Va. (WAVY) — This past Saturday, Adrian “Ace” Custis the assistant to the Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach, became a member of the 2021-2022 Northampton High School Hall of Fame.

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Many loved ones, friends and his classmates of ‘92 were there in full support.  

“It is an honor to be recognized and a privilege to be recognized by the high school and my community,” Custis said in his acceptance speech.

Custis said he was given the name “Ace” by his grandfather, who he was always around when he was growing up. Soon after, everyone who knew him started calling him the name as well. 

Ace had a well-known career playing basketball in high school, college and overseas. 

He added that at a very young age he knew basketball was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life and that dream became a reality. He first played for a little league team, and as the years went by his game improved.  

Custis says his older brother, Tony Custis, was the one person he could never beat when they were playing one on one, but he gives all the credit to him for teaching him the game.

However, with great success comes unfortunate hardships. Ace told 10 On Your Side that during Tony’s senior year in 1988, he was involved in a car accident and died.  

“1988 was a moment that I will always remember,” he explained. “My brother lost his life in a car accident. I never had a chance to beat him and it still bothers me today.”

During Ace’s senior year in high school, he played well most of the season and played for the Boo Williams AAU team alongside former NBA players Allen Iverson and Joe Smith. After 10 games into the season, he got into a car accident just two miles from where his brother lost his life that ended his season.

“By me surviving and him losing his life, I always wanted to have him with me and play for him,” added Custis.

At Virginia Tech, he became the third player in school history to have his jersey number retired.

Each season he won many accolades and every time he stepped on the floor he made an impact.

During his sophomore year, he led his team to the NIT championship with a 64-52 win against Clemson. Two years later, he averaged 16.8 points per game and 10.2 rebounds. 

After graduating from college, he went undrafted in the 1995 NBA draft.

He played professionally for 15 years, including a short stint with the Dallas Mavericks. That was, however, cut short when he tore his ACL during a summer league against the Phoenix Suns.

He quickly recovered and returned to the game with the Continental Basketball Association and the American Basketball Association.

Custis also played in the Philippines and Syria. In 2012, he finished his professional career in Japan.

He didn’t want to completely leave the game, so he became an assistant coach at Virginia State University in 2013. Custis then went to coach at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for five years before heading home to Virginia Tech.

After just one season, he was promoted to the special assistant to the head coach, a position he currently holds.

He was a part of this past year’s team who won their first-ever ACC Championship against Duke with a score of 82-67.  

Ace lives in Christiansburg with his wife Denedra Custis. They have three sons. His oldest son, Charles Mapp, is currently serving in the Navy, and his other two sons are Adrian Custis II (Deuce) and Evan Custis.

Custis wants to be a positive influence on the next generation of young men and to continue to put his stamp on the game.  

“I’ve had the chance of living a dream, a dream of playing basketball for a living,” he told 10 On Your Side. “I’ve dreamed of becoming a coach and now a sit on the sideline.”