WHEN LAST we met Devin Bullock, the senior point guard from New Media Charter wore a wide smile as he was besieged by teammates after sinking the game-winning free throw against Paul Robeson High back on Feb. 11.
But on Wednesday, melancholy was the mood as teammates and coaches again flocked to his side, this time after word spread that Bullock had been shot shortly after 5 p.m. on 25th Street near Thompson in North Philadelphia.
He was admitted to Hahnemann University Hospital in extremely critical condition but since was upgraded to critical but stable, said New Media basketball coach Michael Greene.
Estranged from his parents, Bullock, 19, told the Daily News in February that he has lived on his own since 16 and had an apartment near 26th and Master that he paid for by working 30 to 40 hours per week at Foot Locker in the Cheltenham Mall.
"Dev is outgoing," said teammate Donte Govan. "He's always happy. Honestly, you couldn't tell his situation because he doesn't carry himself like he's down. He's always up."
Govan, a junior, had just left his AAU basketball practice near 5th Street and Allegheny Avenue when he got word of the shooting from Greene, who was en route to the hospital from his King of Prussia home.
"I was just trying to get straight to the hospital," Govan said. "I was just hoping he was all right."
Greene said 10 or 11 members of the team, including a few school administrators, converged on the hospital. Some stayed through the night and still went to school the next morning. Greene also said Bullock's parents were at the hospital.
"They said he wasn't doing too good, so I was just thinking, 'He has to pull through,' " Govan said. "And as time went on, we kept getting better updates so I started feeling a little better. But at first, I walked up and people were in tears already and saying it wasn't looking good, so I was kind of nervous."
Police from North Philly's 22nd District responded to a 9-1-1 call about the shooting and found Bullock and the unidentified 23-year-old man he was with near the scene.
Bullock apparently ran after being wounded in the thigh and groin and collapsed on nearby 26th Street, said Officer Leeloni Palmiero, a police spokeswoman.
The other victim, who was also admitted to Hahnemann, was wounded once in the buttocks, Palmeiro said. His condition was not available.
Chief Inspector Scott Small, who responded to the scene, said the victims told investigators that their attackers fled the scene in a black Cadillac sedan with New York license plates. Police are searching the city for that vehicle.
Palmiero said investigators don't have a description of the shooter or know of a motive.
Tipsters can contact investigators at Central Detectives at 215-686-3093.
As for Bullock, who once said he loves basketball so much that he sleeps with one he named "Michelle," he was a first-team All-Public League coaches' selection in Division D, and by all accounts made an impression on many at New Media.
"It doesn't matter if it's a custodian all the way up to our CEO, everyone is asking about him," Greene said. "He pays his own rent, he comes to school, he works full time, and when you're talking about resilience, that's what this young man has."