Jan. 11, 2010
LAS VEGAS -
Nearly 24 hours after leaving The Pit in New Mexico with their biggest win of the season, UNLV players returned to the court. However, this time, everyone on the floor walked away feeling good about the outcome.
For the fourth consecutive season, the Runnin’ Rebels teamed with the Las Vegas Paradise Sertoma group to put on a basketball clinic for deaf and hard of hearing students. On Sunday night, over 100 people - including students and family members - got to meet the players, shoot baskets on the floor of the Thomas & Mack Center and get autographs from the players.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT
“Our players look forward to this afternoon every year,” said UNLV head coach Lon Kruger. “They really enjoy interacting with the kids and getting to know them.”
The parents of the students say the opportunity for the children to spend time with the players - as well as peers - is an important social event each year.
“It gets them to be able to socialize with their peers,” said Judy Claycome, a parent and active member of Sertoma. “It’s a connection to make sure the kids know they can do whatever they want to do - hearing or deaf. If they want to be a professional basketball player, they can do it. These guys are great role models for them.”
UNLV sophomore Chace Stanback had a reason to smile after the win over New Mexico. His 14 points and nine rebounds were a key part of the Rebels’ win over the nationally ranked Lobos. However, Sunday afternoon gave him a reason to smile even more.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to do something for people who are less fortunate,” Stanback said. “I love seeing smiles on kids’ faces - it’s a thrill for me. We definitely enjoy it. We love seeing the kids have fun.”
Kruger’s wife, Barb, organized the event. Barb, who suffers from hearing loss, spent the afternoon communicating with parents and students at the event with sign language.
Sertoma is a national organization. Its primary focus is on assisting the more than 50 million people with hearing health issues and educating the public on the issues surrounding hearing health.