KU to play Illinois in exhibition fundraiser for Maui wildfire relief

FILE: Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. drives during the first half of an NCAA college basketball...
FILE: Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. drives during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Southern Utah Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Lawrence, Kan. Harris Jr. will return to his hometown Saturday when Kansas takes on Missouri. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)(Charlie Riedel | AP)
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 3:47 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Kansas Jayhawks are doing their part to help raise money for the Maui community.

After wildfires raged through the island of Maui and the historic city of Lahaina, the Kansas basketball program and Illinois basketball program are partnering for a charity exhibition game. Proceeds from the game will be donated to the Hawai’i Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund, which provides financial resources to the relief efforts from the Maui wildfires.

The exhibition game between the Jayhawks and Fighting Illini will be played Oct. 29 at State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois. It will be played at 5 p.m. and televised by the Big Ten Network.

“For decades, the Maui Invitational and the city of Lahaina have been very important to college basketball and our thoughts and prayers go to that entire community as they recover from such a tragic event,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said in a release Friday.

READ MORE: Help from the heartland: Volunteers help put together hygiene kits for Maui

Self said he and Illinois head coach Brad Underwood discussed how their previously scheduled private scrimmage could become an exhibition game to raise money to benefit Maui.

“We both felt this would be a great way for our programs to create awareness to help this cause,” Self said.

Kansas is scheduled to play in the 2023 edition of the Maui Invitational, an event played annually during Thanksgiving week.

“This upcoming season will be the sixth time my teams have participated in this event,” Self said. “The people of Maui have always made our stay a lifelong highlight. This is a small way we can help a community that has been so good to so many for so long.”

In 2017, Kansas and Missouri played a charity exhibition game to raise money for hurricane relief efforts after devastation in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The game sold out within two days, and Kansas eventually defeated Missouri, 93-87, in the game played in Kansas City, Missouri. It raised $2 million for hurricane victims.

KU said all ticket sales information for the game between the Jayhawks and Fighting Illini will be released later. Self coached at Illinois prior to his arrival at KU in 2003, tallying a 78-24 record during three seasons with the Fighting Illini. It will be his first game coaching in Champaign since leaving the Illinois program 20 years ago.