Dec. 2, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Allstate Insurance Company today announced an all-time high 257 total nominees for the 2016 Allstate WBCA and NABC Good Works Teams, which includes Gamecock men’s basketball forward Mindaugas Kacinas and women’s basketball guard Khadijah Sessions. This distinguished award shines a spotlight on a select group of student-athletes who have shown dedication to service in their communities.
In its fourth year, the Allstate WBCA and NABC Good Works Teams recognize players at all levels of college basketball who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of volunteerism and civic involvement. The 103 WBCA nominees and the 154 NABC nominees were submitted by sports information directors and college basketball coaches across the country. From the nominations, special voting panels, headlined by former University of Tennessee basketball athlete, NCAA champion and WNBA legend Tamika Catchings, and former Duke University basketball athlete, two-time NCAA champion and seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill, will select two 10-member teams comprised of five student-athletes from the NCAA Division I level and five student-athletes from Divisions II, III and the NAIA. The final roster of 20 award recipients will be unveiled in February.
Now in his senior season, Kacinas has been involved in numerous community service projects during his time at South Carolina. He has visited Transitions, a shelter in Columbia that helps prepare meals for the homeless, assisted Ronald McDonald House with household chores as well as baking and making care packages for the families. He has participated in several food drives and basketball clinics and been involved with the Special Olympics on numerous occasions, running drills, helping with a basketball tournament and playing games with the Special Olympics athletes. Kacinas has spent time reading to children at local elementary schools, participated in the Make-A-Wish Foundation and joined his teammates for two consecutive years in projects for the “8K in 8 Days” campaign. Most recently, the team contributed to the community following the historic flooding in Columbia, visiting a local Red Cross Shelter to help make care packages for families in need.
Sessions has similarly been active in Columbia throughout her four-year career, which began with weekly visits to the Ronald McDonald House and more recently featured 70+ hours as a volunteer coach on an AAU U10 Boys’ Basketball team. She is most energized when working with children, who she has reached through visits to schools, hospitals, basketball clinics and meetings through Children’s Chance. She has been involved with events sponsored by Innersole, head coach Dawn Staley’s foundation, and the Special Olympics as well as participating in visits to local retirement communities and homeless shelters.
Members of the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team will be invited by Allstate, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, to the 2016 WBCA Convention and the 2016 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Indianapolis, where they will participate in a community service project benefitting the city. Members of the Allstate NABC Good Works Team will be recognized during the 2016 NABC Convention and at the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston and will also participate in a local volunteer project. Allstate in also an official corporate partner of the WBCA and NABC.
South Carolina’s men’s and women’s teams are back in action at Colonial Life Arena this weekend, beginning on Sat., Dec. 5, when the men take on USF at 4 p.m. The women, ranked No. 2 in both polls this week, host No. 14/13 Duke on Sun., Dec. 6, at 2 p.m.