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LSUS Hosts First-Ever NAIA Champions of Character Game, Welcomes Elementary School Children

November 22, 2016

The LSU Shreveport Pilots hosted the first-ever NAIA Champions of Character Game at The Dock Wednesday and were cheered on by hundreds of third and fourth graders.

The LSUS men's basketball team recently visited local elementary schools, including Southern Hill Elementary School, to share the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) five core values of a Champion of Character: respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, servant leadership, and integrity. The team also invited the youngsters to the Champions of Character college basketball game to have fun and learn more about being filled with the five values.

"Coach Blankenship and our staff did a tremendous job putting on a very memorable event," said LSUS Athletic Director, Lucas Morgan. "The Champions of Character values are something our student-athletes learn the minute they step on campus, and we are very honored to share the positive messages of the NAIA with the children in our local community. We hope their experience will be something they will remember for a long time."

The inaugural event was headlined by a halftime Champions of Character presentation, led by Coach Kyle Blankenship, in which several LSUS student-athletes spoke about one of the five core values that was most important to them.

"The opportunity to share the importance of sportsmanship with over 500 school-aged kids was so awesome," said Courtney Randle, women's basketball player. "Since I wasn't playing, I had the ability to interact with them throughout the game and just to see the smiles on their faces was priceless."

In addition to the local schools in attendance, several members of the HUB leadership team brought a group of 20-plus homeless men as special guests of the Pilots where they were provided with free food and concessions during the contest.

The HUB is a local group that exists to walk those in poverty through a process that gives them hope, friendship, community, a place they belong and the skills needed to become self-sufficient by giving them access to rescue, relationships, resources and recovery.

Following the halftime presentation, a group of nearly 50 students competed in a dance contest at mid-court that set the crowd into a frenzy. In addition to the dance contest, several kids were selected to compete in time-out promotions where they had the opportunity to win gift certificates and LSUS apparel. Most importantly, all of the kids in attendance left The Dock with a smile on their face as they were able to simply interact with the LSUS student-athletes throughout the contest, while taking pictures with and receiving autographs from the men's basketball team.

"Today was as much fun as I've had on the basketball court in a long time," said men's basketball player, Tyrell Springer. "The kids were so loud throughout the game, and I even heard several of them chanting my name after a breakaway dunk."

The men's basketball team moved to 4-0 on the season by defeating Ecclesia College 103-90.

"My hope is that we made a positive impact in someone's life today, and that this is an event we can host annually as it represents everything our program and athletic department stands for," Blankenship said. "We want to be second-to-none in our community engagement, and I believe this event reflected the importance of us building strong relationships with our local schools."

Visit the LSUS Athletics website for more photos from the game.

Louisiana State University Shreveport is a public university proudly serving the Shreveport-Bossier educational community with more than 20 undergraduate degree programs, a dozen master's degree programs (including the new online MBA), and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership Studies, as well as over 70 student organizations. LSUS provides a number of centers and institutes that serve as valuable economic development and educational resources to the community, as well as to our students. To find out more about LSUS, call 318-797-5000, or visit

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