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Men's basketball team gets involved at Boys and Girls Club

Justin Namolik, head coach for the men's basketball team, had a desire to get his team involved in the community.

Last summer, he met with the director of the Boys and Girls Club in Martinsburg to team up with the club to provide tutoring and mentoring services to students after school.

Since then, an average of three team members go to the Boys and Girls Club once a week during the fall semester of the academic year to help the students with homework.

Namolik said that if there is no homework on that particular day, team members hang out in the recreation room and also to play basketball with them in the center's gymnasium.

This past spring, team members also helped the club with the basketball clinic, helping to referee the teams.

"It's good for the guys," Namolik said. "It gets them off campus and gives them a different perspective and allows them to give back to the community."

Namolik said in the process, a relationship has formed with the club.

Brantley Osborne, a freshman shooting guard from Sunbury, Pennsylvania, said that the kids are always really excited when they know the team members are coming.

"We play ball with the kids," Osborne said. "They enjoy it."

Tucker Lucas, a sophomore point guard from Herndon, Virginia, has been going to the club for the past two seasons.

"I like playing with the kids and getting involved," Lucas said. "It gives them someone to look up to."

Justin Bryan, a freshman forward for the Rams and native of Charles Town, said that it's a good influence for the kids and is a good teambuilding exercise among the team members.

Stefan Pearson, of Baltimore, Maryland, is a freshman guard for the Rams.

"It's good to give back to the community and it's been good to build relationships with them each week."

Amber Glennon, director at the Boys and Girls Club in Martinsburg, said it has been a great partnership to have with Shepherd.

"The kids get to interact with the players and it's rare to see college athletes here," Glennon said. "It's nice to see them giving back to the community."

Glennon said that not only is it good to have role models for the kids to look up to, it gives them extra hands at the club to help with tutoring and mentoring.

"The boys especially relate well to (seeing the athletes come in)," Glennon said. "It sets a good example."

Glennon said that it's hard to predict what role the athletes' impact will have on the students, but worthwhile in the realm that it could inspire just one student.

• Jillian Kesner

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