Kansas men’s basketball players make ‘assertion’ that NIL opportunities can benefit more than just Jayhawks’ bank accounts

Nine members of the Kansas men’s basketball crew proved Sunday evening that the advantages related to identify, picture and likeness {dollars} can be a two-way road.

In attendance at The Oread Hotel on Sunday evening for Family Promise’s largest fundraiser of the yr, the 9 Jayhawks joined collectively to donate $17,000 of their very own cash to the group, a nonprofit outlet that serves to fight homelessness for Douglas County households.

Each of the players was paid to attend the occasion as a part of an NIL deal, and, along with mingling with friends and taking part in a Q&A; session on stage with emcee Brian Hanni, the Jayhawks watched a video about one household’s wrestle with homelessness.

That was sufficient to get their consideration and their feelings took over from there.

“The cash all of us donated was due to J-Wil,” KU level guard Dajuan Harris Jr., informed the Journal-World on Monday of teammate Jalen Wilson. “He was the one who mentioned one thing in our crew group chat.”

Putting that concept into observe got here through the fund-a-need portion of the occasion, when Hanni requested donors to boost their paddles to pledge numerous quantities of cash. Largely quiet, Hanni tried to rally the room through the lull and was shocked to see KU’s KJ Adams and Bobby Pettiford throw their fingers as much as pledge $1,000 apiece.

The remainder of the crew quickly adopted. Shortly after Adams and Pettiford spoke up, Wilson informed Hanni that he and Kevin McCullar Jr. had been in for 5 every. Because the final quantity was $1,000, Hanni assumed Wilson meant $500 every. When Wilson clarified that he meant $5,000, Hanni was blown away and the room went wild.

“I’m fortunate to get to emcee about 80 occasions like this yearly, and I’ve by no means seen a second like that,” Hanni mentioned. “The crowd instantly roared with applause in a standing ovation after which the extra giving across the room unfold like wildfire.”

Added Wilson: “I believe individuals had been stunned. But after watching that video, I just acquired actually moved by it and thought to myself if I can contribute to serving to individuals going by way of that not directly, I’m going to do it. I just felt the necessity to do it and if I’ve it or I can assist I’m going to do it each time.”

Joining Harris, Wilson, Adams, Pettiford and McCullar in contributing to the $17,000 pledged by KU players had been Kyle Cuffe Jr., Michael Jankovich, Cam Martin and Joe Yesufu.

It all led to a file evening of fundraising. Family Promise Executive Director, Dana Ortiz, didn’t have the ultimate numbers from Sunday’s occasion however mentioned there was no query that the quantity raised was a file for the group.

“Fundraisers just like the public sale get together are essential to us persevering with to serve massive numbers of households in want,” Ortiz mentioned Monday. “An extremely beneficiant donor stepped as much as organize for the men’s basketball crew to seem at our largest fundraiser and the basketball players who attended introduced a lot love, power and neighborhood spirit to the public sale get together. This was an extremely beneficiant reward, past them already taking time to assist the work of Family Promise of Lawrence, and their generosity is a real testomony to this crew.”

Entering final weekend, Family Promise had served 221 households and 647 people this yr alone. Wilson was thrilled to suppose that the Jayhawks’ group gesture and the donations it impressed would push each of these numbers larger and he was completely happy to have the ability to present “I really care about why I’m right here.”

This occasion of Kansas athletes being concerned with native charities just isn’t restricted to the men’s basketball crew and it might turn into an enormous a part of KU’s future NIL plans. Earlier this yr, 5 members of the KU soccer crew — Devin Neal, Jalon Daniels, Earl Bostick Jr., Ky Thomas and Kenny Logan Jr. — did an identical cope with Family Promise. And 20 different soccer players had been concerned in a spring fundraiser for Just Food.

On Monday, different Kansas basketball players, together with Zach Clemence, Gradey Dick, Zuby Ejiofor, Wilder Evers, Ernest Udeh Jr. and Wilder Evers, attended Family Promise’s annual golf event, the Dale Willey Memorial Golf Tournament at Lawrence Country Club.

“It’s not all the time about taking,” Wilson informed the Journal-World. “I’ve all the time been an enormous giver and I’m all the time making an attempt to assist the subsequent individual and we had been capable of do that. I just felt like we might make the assertion that NIL’s not all the time about us gaining cash; it is about us having the ability to change individuals’s lives with the cash we’re receiving.”

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