Coaches vs. Cancer: Connecting Kids with Gophers, Sooners

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – “It’s great to see all of the awareness that’s being made for kids with cancer,” said mom of a cancer surviver, Linda Nelson.

The University of Minnesota and Oklahoma will be remembered in Sioux Falls for their on court performance, but earlier today each team met with kids and families affected by cancer, Making memories off the court. Head Coach of Oklahoma Sooners Basketball says it was beneficial for everyone involved.

“I think they get more out of it than the kids do,” said Head Basketball Coach at Oklahoma Lon Kruger. “Hopefully the kids get something from our players, but in the end our players get more than the young kids.”

The athletes and kids exchanged autographs, as the players signed basketballs and T-shirts the kids signed their own playing cards. Oklahoma sophomore Jamal Bieniemy says today was about the smiles.

“Adversity doesn’t really mean too much, just to keep smiling and keep going and always have fun,” he said. “It’s important to put smiles on people faces, you never know what people are going through and just to see them smile and be happy means the world to our team.”

On the other end of the court, Minnesota’s Jarvis Omersa says it’s all about giving back.

Omersa said, “You know we all have been down at times, so it’s really for us to be able to give back and help out especially with something this big.”

Coach Kruger says today’s event gives his student-athlete a unique perspective.

“It gives them a unique perspective. They’ve got family and everywhere people are fighting cancer, but when it’s kids fighting cancer it opens your eyes a little bit more,” Coach Kruger said.

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