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 group proved Sunday night time that the advantages related to identify, picture and likeness {dollars} can be a two-way road.

In attendance at The Oread Hotel on Sunday night time 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 visitors and collaborating 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., instructed the Journal-World on Monday of teammate Jalen Wilson. “He was the one who mentioned one thing in our group group chat.”

Putting that concept into follow got here through the fund-a-need portion of the occasion, when Hanni requested donors to boost their paddles to pledge varied 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 palms as much as pledge $1,000 apiece.

The remainder of the group quickly adopted. Shortly after Adams and Pettiford spoke up, Wilson instructed Hanni that he and Kevin McCullar Jr. have 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 lucky 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 folks have been shocked. But after watching that video, I just received actually moved by it and thought to myself if I can contribute to assist folks going via that ultimately, 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 have been Kyle Cuffe Jr., Michael Jankovich, Cam Martin and Joe Yesufu.

It all led to a document night time 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 document for the group.

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

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 increased and he was pleased to have the ability to present “I truly care about why I’m right here.”

This occasion of Kansas athletes being concerned with native charities will not be restricted to the men’s basketball group and it might change into a giant a part of KU’s future NIL plans. Earlier this yr, 5 members of the KU soccer group — Devin Neal, Jalon Daniels, Earl Bostick Jr., Ky Thomas and Kenny Logan Jr. — did an identical take care of Family Promise. And 20 different soccer players have 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 match, the Dale Willey Memorial Golf Tournament at Lawrence Country Club.

“It’s not all the time about taking,” Wilson instructed the Journal-World. “I’ve all the time been a giant giver and I’m all the time making an attempt to assist the following individual and we have 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 with the ability to change folks’s lives with the cash we’re receiving.”

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