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After moving to Robbins, Wade didn't see his mother for two years.
During this time, Jo Linda was able to access a free supply of drugs by volunteering to be a tester – i.e., someone who tests street drugs for impurities before the dealers try to sell them.
Wade's performance during the Midwest Regional Final of the 2003 NCAA Tournament was highly publicized by the national press.
Against heavily favored, top-ranked and top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats, Wade recorded a triple-double with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
Wade told ESPN, "I was hurt because I felt like I was just getting my mom back, and now she had to leave again." On January 2, 2002, his mother went back to prison to serve her 14-month sentence. Wade chose to play college basketball for Tom Crean at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
He cites one of his older sisters, Tragil, as the individual most responsible for his childhood upbringing and for steering him in the proper direction. Wade was recruited by only three college basketball teams (Marquette University, Illinois State, and De Paul University) due to academic problems.
During most of Wade's time at Marquette, his mother was either eluding the law or serving time in jail for selling crack cocaine.
During Wade's freshman year at Marquette, he was ineligible to play with the men's team as he had fallen short of academic standards set by the NCAA's Proposition 48.
Wade sought tutoring to improve his writing skills in order to regain eligibility.