Men’s basketball team sheds hope for communities

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Photo by Marquette Wire Stock Photo

Theo John (4) looks to make a play as Villanova guard Collin Gillespie closes in.

The Marquette men’s basketball team has been spending some time off the court to give back to the community. With a global pandemic and protests making up most of the headlines in the country, the team is doing some good for those around them.

Both players and coaches have been actively involved in Milwaukee and its local communities over the past two months.

Senior forward, Theo John, and his family have donated over $400 worth of educational toys and craft kits to the Minneapolis community. John also participated in a peaceful protest in Minneapolis with former Marquette forward, Sacar Anim, following the death of George Floyd.

Guard Koby McEwen also expressed his feelings on equality during a peaceful march he attended in Milwaukee that was led by the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I just want everyone to be able to just get along,” McEwen said to Wisconsin Sports Stream. “There shouldn’t be issues if, you know, your skin color is different than mine.”

Both John and McEwen were vocal on social media as well, with tweets that called for change and justice for the black community. Symir Torrence also shared his thoughts on the injustice on Twitter, asking people to come together as one race.

Head coach Steve Wojciechowski also spoke out on Instagram to support the push for equality, stating that the issue affects all of us and that “our fates are intertwined.”

Wojciechowski shared a picture of the team with a heartfelt caption that described the ability of basketball to “connect people from all walks of life.” He mentioned how the community needs that type of togetherness now more than ever.

The basketball program also made November 3 a mandatory day off for players. This is to encourage them to exercise their right to vote in the hopes that it will help contribute to the end of social injustice and systematic racism in the country. The decision stems from an initiative by the National Association of Basketball Coaches to help make players’ voices heard.

In addition to raising awareness for social injustice, the men’s basketball team also supported the “Hero Mail Call” campaign, which asks for letters, drawings, or videos to be sent to healthcare workers and isolated senior citizens. The movement was sponsored by Kapco Inc. in Grafton, about 20 minutes north of campus.

Coach Wojciechowski also participated in Calendar Club in the month of May to raise money for Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin. Wojciechowski and his wife vowed to donate $100 to Feeding America for each person who joined him and finished the challenge.

The mission calls for the completion of one mile of exercise for each corresponding day of the month. By the end of the month, Wojciechowski had raised over $10,000 for Feeding America.

While the basketball season might have been cut short due to the coronavirus, both players and coaches have still managed to find a way to be the difference.

This story was written by Nick Galle. He can be reached at nicholas.galle@marquette.edu and on Twitter @thenickgalle.