COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It feels good to give back. That's how the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team felt after its trip to Capshaw Elementary School on Wednesday where five team members shared stories with students about how they began playing basketball.
"I think it's great and it is a great opportunity," said senior center Terrell Barnes. "I didn't have this growing up and I wish I had. I think just coming out here and telling these kids they can do whatever they want to do in life and they can follow their dreams just like I did, that's what is special."
Joining Barnes at Capshaw were senior guard Jud Dillard, junior forward Matt Marseille, sophomore forward Dennis Ogbe, and sophomore guard Mitchell Hill. Assistant coach Brian Kloman as well as the members of the Golden Eagles' cheer squad and Golden Girls dance team also joined in the morning's festivities.
The players each told stories about how their careers in basketball began while also answering questions from the kids. The team handed out t-shirts to the children who could answer trivia questions about the players or tell jokes that were funnier than what the players could come up with. Four children were awarded Golden Eagle basketballs after answering questions about their current reading assignment, Allie's Basketball Dream by Barbara E, Barber.
Following a quick pep rally with the younger children, the team gave out high fives to the kids as they made their way back to class.
Hill, a former student of Capshaw Elementary, was reminiscent about his days at the school and what it meant to return and give back.
"It means a lot. I remember when I was here in third grade; we came to the gym and watched Tech basketball players put on a show with some dunks. They talked to us about following our dreams and working hard. It had an impact on me. Now that I can do it and am in the same position to give back, it's really special and something that I cherish."