‘We take a lot of pride in representing Eastern Kentucky’: EKU Men’s Basketball joins volunteer efforts in Eastern Kentucky

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News First at Four
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 4:15 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - For the past week and a half, people have poured into Eastern Kentucky from all over the Commonwealth and beyond to help in any way possible.

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News First at Four

On Tuesday, one university sports team added their support and helping hands.

The Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Men’s Basketball Team went to the donation and distribution center at the JC Penny’s building in Hazard to do what they could to lighten the load for volunteers and victims. The athletes helped in any place needed, folding, sorting and lifting donations at the center.

”We talk about this all the time, its not what you get, its what you give, and that’s not just in basketball but in life,” said A.W. Hamilton, EKU Men’s Basketball’s head coach. “They have a platform, they can help, they can have a big impact, so they want to do that.”

Coach Hamilton added this mission is especially important to the team since many former players and current staff call the Eastern Kentucky region home.

“Everything is bigger than basketball,” said Cooper Robb, the team’s shooting guard. “You never know who you’ll meet. You never know who you’ll meet here so anytime you can help someone in times of need, it makes them feel good and makes you feel good.”

The team manager, Bryce Watts, is Knott County native and Hazard High School graduate. He lost a trailer he rented out to help pay his bills and said several friends were also affected by the flood.

“To see these families lose everything they’ve worked for; I have friends that lost everything,” said Watts. “I have a friend that his house actually ended up burning down a few years ago, and they just rebuilt everything, and they’ve lost it again, so I can’t even imagine what they’re going through. It just takes a group effort to get back to things.”

The players and coaches hope they can make a lasting positive impact in the region.

“Its not what you get, its what you give, and that’s not just in basketball, but in life,” said Coach Hamilton.

To Hamilton and the rest of the team, wearing EKU across their chests means more than just the team.

“We take a lot of pride in representing Eastern Kentucky, it means something. When we put this shirt on or when we put our polo on, not just when we play basketball games, but representing Eastern Kentucky is a big deal to us and its a big deal to all our players,” said Hamilton.

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