Basketball Programs Collaborate to Help Houston

Photo Courtesy/St. Johns University, Twitter

Photo Courtesy/St. John’s University, Twitter

Derrell Bouknight, Co-Sports Editor

Following the devastation caused this past week by Tropical Storm Harvey, which claimed the lives of at least 45 people and left thousands displaced from their homes, the St. John’s University basketball programs rallied together to help Houston-area victims in the aftermath.

On Monday, University of Houston head basketball coach Kelvin Sampson urged college basketball teams from around the country to donate 20 shirts and 10 pairs of shoes, which would then be distributed to the thousands of people in shelters across the area.

Sampson, who has coached at the university since 2014, included his address in a Twitter post that quickly went viral. He asked men’s and women’s programs ranging from high school to the NAIA to send the equipment or other valuable resources.

On Wednesday evening, the St. John’s basketball teams collaborated to send out gear of their own. Stephen Dombroski, St. John’s Associate Athletics Director for Communications, said that the teams packaged sweatshirts, t-shirts and shoes to send to Houston. Dombroski said that Coach Sampson’s message was seen immediately, and that efforts to gather as much equipment as possible began when the staff heard the news.

“Right now, Houston has a variety of needs,” Dombroski said. “This was the least we could do.”

An email was sent to St. John’s students Thursday evening detailing ways in which members of the university could also help. The email included a link to the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Disaster Services Corporation, whose mission is to “respond to disasters such as floods, wildfires, tornadoes, and other events throughout the United States,” according to their website. The council trains and prepares Regional Response Teams to serve victims of disasters. All donations go towards rebuilding homes, providing shelter, and aiding those who respond to disasters across the country.