Shocker legends give Wichita kids opportunity to play

Published: Jun. 27, 2018 at 9:05 PM CDT
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"195 dollars? And then that's when I was like whoa..."

That was the tuition for one week of basketball camp.

Former Wichita State legend Xavier McDaniel had that realization when he was growing up in Columbia, South Carolina in the late 70's. His mother found him enough money to participate in a basketball camp, but he knew every kid wasn't so lucky.

McDaniel is one of the major forces behind the Jeff Hill Future All-American Camp, and its impact on the Wichita youth each year.

Hill, a former Drake star, hosts a free basketball camp each summer for underprivileged youth. He knew the right men to call in the Wichita area.

Aubrey Sherrod's Wichita roots grow deep.

"We try not to label kids, but let's be real about the situation, some kids do not have the opportunities to go to these basketball camps," he said.

The Heights product knows that well. Sherrod teared up as he spoke about how much it means to be in a position to give back to his community.

"I'm a hometown boy, I've been here my whole live, and I care," he said. "It's very, very important to me. My mother passed away a few years ago and she always told me 'be respectful of people. If you have a chance to help, help others'."

This group is helping others in more ways than just basketball. Jeff Hill and his team provide each kid with a hot meal each day, a backpack full of school supplies, and life lessons from community leaders. Sherrod says preaching education is even more important than basketball skills.

"You have to have a 'plan b' in life. You still have to play the game of life once you get through playing because the average years could be 10 years or 12 years, but you still have the rest of your life to live," he said.

And if this group of men has proven anything, the camp also promotes a sense of community.

"Basketball brings people together from all around the world," McDaniel said. "I don't care what color you are, if you can play basketball, you can make a friend."

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