The Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team, with help from a group called Glory Gang, held a basketball clinic for under-privileged children in Nacogdoches County Thursday morning.
Around 50 kids were brought in to play and learn about basketball from the team’s players and coaches.
“Our guys, right now, are teaching young people here in Nacogdoches and East Texas some basketball and bringing some smiles to their faces,” said Kyle Keller, SFA men’s head basketball coach.
The children were part of a group called Glory Gang a non-profit Christian outreach group based in Nacogdoches County.
“Glory Gang is like a giant Sunday school for kids and we pick up children from the at-risk areas, we bus in around 450 kids every Sunday,” said Richard Konderla, Glory Gang director.
This was an exiting event many of the children couldn’t wait to get to.
“Our kids were very excited when we were picking them up this morning, I was really worried that they wouldn’t be up yet but they were out dressed and waiting so they were very very pumped,” said Konderla.
Once the buses arrived at the children’s homes, they were greeted by special visitors.
Players actually rode the buses to get the chance to meet the children before everything got started.
This was about more than just enjoying basketball it was about setting examples and creating role models.
“The biggest thing at this age is to give them what they can see as role models and some examples,” said Derrick Jones, men’s assistant coach. “People may not have had the best start but it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish.”
This group was all to familiar for Coach Jones as he grew up in conditions similar to what the Glory Gang children currently live in.
“My story is not very different from a lot of them I bet,” said Jones. “I grew up in a very small town in Louisiana, Erwinville, Louisiana, and we didn’t have a whole lot growing up, not a whole lot at all.”
Thankfully Coach Jones was fortunate enough to be blessed with a good role model in his mother.
This was why he jumped at the chance to be the camp leader and push the other players to be positive leaders and set examples for youths in the community.
Coach Keller hopes this experience will push the players onward to another outstanding season by reminding them of those who look up to them.
“It makes me proud to watch our kids get out here and spend time with them and give back and give them a chance to hopefully impact these kids lives and make some memories,” said Keller. “We’re going to be able to take some lessons from this and bring it back as the year goes on.”
For more information about Glory Gang here is a link to their website