Apr 192013
 

reflector

ECU's basketball players Akeem Richmond and Marshall Guilmette sign autographs for students at W.H. Robinson on Thursday. The ECU athletes paid a visit to the Winterville elementary school to speak to students about studying hard and making good grades. (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)

ECU’s basketball players Akeem Richmond and Marshall Guilmette sign autographs for students at W.H. Robinson on Thursday. The ECU athletes paid a visit to the Winterville elementary school to speak to students about studying hard and making good grades. (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)

By Tony Castleberry

Friday, April 19, 2013

WINTERVILLE — Six East Carolina men’s basketball players got out of their classes on Thursday afternoon and promptly headed over to W.H. Robinson Elementary School to teach some life lessons.

Erin Straughn, Akeem Richmond, Paris Roberts-Campbell, Marshall Guilmette, Peyton Robbins and Francis Edosomwan, along with ECU director of basketball operations Kyle Robinson, spent some time with a group of fifth graders in the W.H. Robinson gymnasium in an effort to help the youngsters with their upcoming transition to middle school.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Richmond, a junior guard who hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer in the Pirates’ win over Weber State for the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament championship earlier this month. “Any time you can come out and help some kids, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Robinson played a DVD recapping East Carolina’s CIT triumph, including the pre-dawn reception that awaited the Pirates when they brought the CIT trophy back to Greenville. Hundreds of fans were at Pitt-Greenville Airport to congratulate ECU after winning the first postseason basketball title in program history.

The students, and the adults for that matter, sat rapt with attention while the highlights played on the big screen and a question and answer period followed with the kids’ inquiries ranging from how Richmond felt after hitting the game-winner to where college players get their shoes.

Richmond admitted watching the replay never gets old and to do it with a group of appreciative youngsters made it even more special.

“I just came down off cloud nine,” Richmond said, referring to the weeks that have passed since the April 2 win at Weber State. “I’m back on cloud nine right now.”

Following the Q and A, the Pirates participated in a game of knockout and only Straughn made it to the final three, where he eventually lost to one of the kids.

ECU’s players stuck around for more basketball and autographs and WHR assistant principal Charlene Rogers-Whedbee said the Pirates’ hands-on approach meant a lot to the faculty and the students.

“The students really need to see role models in their community,” Rogers-Whedbee said. “These role models help (the youth) make better decisions as far as academics and behavior. … (The fifth graders) are on that bridge between elementary and middle school and that is such a crucial time in a student’s life.”

Like his teammates, Roberts-Campbell implored the children to focus on their studies and to make good decisions when their educational world expands upon making the move to sixth grade. The sophomore guard also relished the opportunity to give back in ways that go beyond basketball.

“It’s fun every time,” Roberts-Campbell said of school visits like Thursday’s. “It’s a great experience to help the community, help people we don’t know, just to touch people who might need some words of influence. It’s always great to help.”

Contact Tony Castleberry at tcastleberry@reflector.com, 252-329-9591 or follow @tcastleberrygdr on Twitter.

via The Daily Reflector.

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