The University of South Carolina men’s basketball team turned from players to coaches Tuesday night as they welcomed athletes from Special Olympics South Carolina to Colonial Life Arena.
The players led the athletes through drills with players, gave them a tour of the locker room, and of course signed autographs. The athletes and their families then headed to Thirsty Fellow (a longtime supporter of Special Olympics South Carolina) for dinner.
“I like playing basketball. It makes you tough and it makes you strong,” said Special Olympics athlete Matt Henderson of Orangeburg. “The USC guys are my partners.”
The event was part of the men’s basketball team’s 2016 8K In 8 Days campaign, an annual effort to reach 8,000 fans in the Midlands and across the state with community outreach over the course of eight days. Senior Justin McKie, in his fourth 8K, said it’s been an enjoyable experience and one he hopes to continue even after graduating.
“I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people and do a lot of community service, and being from this community, that makes me feel good,” McKie said. “When I was a little kid, I wanted to be around USC athletes… I just want to give back the same way those guys who were playing when I was young gave to me.”