WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – When the Jeff Hill Future All-American Basketball Camp was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers shifted their focus from the hardwood to the classroom.
“They need something positive in their lives, and we’re going to make sure we provide it for them today,” said Jeff Hill, the founder and CEO of the camp, aimed at serving low-income athletes, featuring Wichita State basketball legends Xavier McDaniel, Lynbert “Cheese” Johnson, and Aubrey Sherrod. “We give every kid a book bag full of school supplies, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a basketball, a mask, a camp t-shirt, ice cream… we’re just doing everything possible to make sure these kids have a good time.”
For McDaniel, the spirit of giving was instilled at a young age.
“My mother always told me, my grandmother always told me to give back, and I try to whenever I can do what I can for people less fortunate,” said McDaniel. “When I was growing up, I was less fortunate so people did some things to get me into basketball, basketball camp, to get my name out there, and I wind up at Wichita State, so I’m giving back, too.”
Students are thankful for the generosity.
“This year, I was going to use the same backpack because every year I get a new backpack, but it gets a little pricey,” said incoming sixth-grader Malaya Mosley.
Johnson hopes that Wichita’s youth will leave with more than school supplies, but a desire to make a change in their own community.
“When it’s embedded in you, you can’t help but to pass it on. Hopefully, someone will see it and keep it on,” said Johnson. “Let’s keep a domino effect going.”