While many on the East Coast braced for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, three Georgetown Hoyas basketball players spoke with a group of kids about how to avoid personal disaster.
According to a story on the Hoyas website, sophomores Otto Porter, Mikael Hopkins and Jabril Trawick visited with kids participating in the Youth Leadership Foundation at St. Thomas Catholic School in the Southeast section of Washington D.C.
While Hoyas coach John Thompson III is counting on their leadership on the court, on this day, these three emerged as leaders off the court.
The YLF is a Catholic charity that provides academic support for inner city kids. The program focuses on character development, personal mentoring and parental involvement as keys to future success.
Although the the students peppered the players with questions about basketball, the Hoyas offered the kids tips on winning in life.
Hopkins, who attended DeMatha in nearby Hyattsville, Md., talked about friends he grew up with who made poor choices. He explained how basketball is only part of his life, not the sum of who he is.
“Most of my friends didn’t have the same goals I had. Being an athlete, you have to interact with a lot of people and have to have good character. You can be serious on the court, but you have to be able to speak and interact with people,” said Hopkins.
Trawick encouraged the students to play hard, but focus on education. “My family was very focused on education and that’s a big reason I’m at Georgetown. I know that if I don’t get the chance the play professionally, I’m going to get a great education,” said Trawick. “You have to be able to handle the work. There are a bunch of guys who play basketball, but if you can’t keep your grades together, you’re not going to get in to school. I had to learn how to become a good basketball player and a good student.”
Porter considers his father the most influential person in his life and emphasized the importance of listening to parents.
“You’ve got to listen to your parents because they know what’s best for you. They’ve been down that road. My whole family, from my mom’s side and my dad’s side, we all went to the same school. We all played basketball too. But it was being around my family and having everyone talking about hard work that taught me things about character and sportsmanship.”
Merlisa covers Georgetown and Big East Basketball. Follow her on Twitter: @merlisa