Campers enjoy chance to hang out with Mountaineers

MORGANTOWN — The kids toured WVU’s basketball locker room, watched big-screen video of last season’s Sweet 16 run and shot baskets inside the practice facility.

Sagaba Konate even led a game of kickball. (And in an upset of World Cup proportions, he wasn’t the one who blasted a ball into the rafters of the Shell Building.)

“You never know where the next Mountaineer basketball player — or Mountaineer soccer player — is going to come from,” joked basketball assistant Erik Martin, who assisted with the free camp.

Children from the Morgantown Boys & Girls Club and The Shack Neighborhood House spent June 23 playing games and eating lunch with the WVU basketball team. All 13 players who were on campus volunteered.

“These guys don’t have to do this, but they came out and wanted to help,” Martin said. “They’re role models, and these kids need to see that. It filters down, and I believe that’s our responsibility as role models and just as men.”

Assistant athletics director Nate Zinn, academic staffer Donnie Tucker, basketball staffer Jay Kuntz and WVU tennis coach Miha Lisac helped organize the camp. Martin credited head coach Bob Huggins with driving community outreach.

“Huggs has always been a big supporter of your players getting in the community, even in Cincinnati,” Martin said. “And the difference here is, it’s a smaller community, so these kids can reach out and touch their stars, whereas it was hard to reach out and touch those Bearcats because Cincinnati was a bigger place.”

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