NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team has been selected as the 2011-12 Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team. The NAIA presents the award to one team at the end of the season for each of the 23 championship sports.
Teams that receive this prestigious award demonstrate in every day decisions respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship. These institutions and athletic programs strive for excellence in and out of competition and are part of communities throughout the country dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics.
Before the basketball season started in October, the Wolfpack visited Woodland West Elementary School and the Pre-Prep Basketball Clinic to educate kids on the NAIA Champions of Character program.
The team talked about the importance of displaying integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership to not only keep sports pure, fun, and as a learning instrument, but also to lead an enriching successful life.
The Wolfpack also performed a ball handling and shooting demonstration on the outdoor court. To cap off the day, the team presented the school with six new outdoor basketballs.
On Thanksgiving Day, the ‘Pack traveled to the Bridge & Grace House to serve dinner and spend time with the men and women of the community. It marked the third year the team had participated in the event.
Furthermore, team members participated with the non-profit group Elevate in “Life of a College Student for a Day.” The ‘Pack served as mentors to high school students who visited the Loyola campus and shadowed the players.
In February, the Wolfpack hosted their Annual Cancer Awareness Game benefiting the Play 4Kay Charity and the Coaches vs. Cancer Program.
“The Loyola University men's basketball program is extremely grateful to be recognized and honored by the NAIA in receiving the Buffalo Funds Champions of Character Five Star Team Award. Character building is an important aspect of a Jesuit education and similar to many student organizations on our campus in which we are constantly striving to make a difference in the Loyola and greater New Orleans community,” states Loyola men’s basketball coach Dr. Michael Giorlando. “Again, I want to thank the NAIA for recognizing our team for their efforts in the community with this prestigious award.”
The team not only achieved a stellar season on the court but also in the classroom in the fall, as they produced a 3.25 team GPA.
In addition, Chris Joseph, Dylan Kremer, Manuel Gandara, and Steve Davis were announced to the 2011-12 All-Academic Team. Joseph was also named to the Musco Lighting Champions of Character Team, while Kremer was awarded as a NAIA Daktronics Scholar Athlete.
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