🏀 Jayhawks Surprise Local Boys & Girls Club with Pick-Up Basketball Game

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Imagine you are in fourth grade and your Boys & Girls Club is going to host another club for a basketball game. That’s just what happened at Prairie Park Elementary on Monday morning but for these 13 club members, their opponent was the Kansas men’s basketball team.

The look on the Prairie Park club’s team when the Jayhawks entered the gym was startling. They were first impressed with the size of the KU players and then realized they had to play them.

“We definitely caught them off guard,” KU head coach Bill Self said. “Our guys love doing these types of activities, getting out into the community and giving these kids a break from their normal Monday routine. They sure seemed to enjoy it and I know we did too.”

Boys & Girls Club Director of Marketing Alissa Bourneuf said the visit from the Jayhawks provided a day no one will ever forget.

“When KU Basketball walks through the door, you are going to be pumped!” Bourneuf said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a fourth grader or a staff member, it is special to get to share a basketball court with Coach Self and the Jayhawks. Our kids loved it! It was really cool to watch these young men taking time to have conversations and get to know the kids who look up to them.”

The day was a memorable one for the members of the Kansas squad as well.

“It was phenomenal,” KU super senior Jalen Coleman-Lands said. “When we walked in you could see the energy change. They thought another Boys and Girls Club team was going to come in, so they were in for quite a surprise.”

Following introductions coordinated by Self, the group separated into two teams each and played for about 20 minutes on the side courts. Then the two teams combined for one big game on the main court with a couple Jayhawks putting on Boys & Girls Club jerseys to assist with the rebounding for the much shorter club members.

“When the kids made shots,” Coleman-Lands said of the best part of the hour-plus experience. “For them to make a shot against us, you could see the excitement in their eyes. The energy was staggering.”

There were plenty of high fives shared throughout the visit and following the contest, the two teams posed for photos.

KU super senior Mitch Lightfoot welcomed the event. “Especially in the Lawrence community, for us to give back to a place that has given me and my teammates so much means a lot. It’s really rewarding and these kids were able to experience a little bit of fun on a day they thought they were getting a different Boys and Girls Club team.”