By Brian Edsall
On November 30, senior Kentrall Brooks and sophomore Casey Davidson were nominated for the 2017 Allstate Good Works Teams®. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) nominated Brooks and Davidson for being among college basketball’s finest in the areas of community service and leadership.
The Allstate Good Works Teams® encompasses all levels of college basketball including Divisions I, II, III, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). This year, Brooks and Davidson were nominated along with 276 other collegiate basketball players across the nation.
“I’m humbled,” said Brooks. “Volunteering and community service are big to me. There was a time where I was once the person in school that was waiting for people to come and speak to me, so it’s always good to be on the opposite end of that to give back”
Brooks continued, “Everyone goes through a lot during their life…You always have to take time to put yourself in another person’s shoes.”Brooks is grateful that his platform as a Division I athlete has allowed him to give back to the community. “It makes things easier,” he explained. “People actually want to listen to me, want to hear about my life and the progress I’ve made.”
Brooks volunteers in the community through the Special Olympics, Kids’ Day Out, the Friends of Jaclyn, and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Mike Maker, the head coach of Marist’s men’s basketball team, has high praise for his senior captain. “You can’t ask for a better role model,” said Maker. “He does all the right things on and off the court.”
“Kenny was brought up the right way. He has great core values and has great character,” said Maker. “He reflects a positive image not just for our basketball program but for the institution as a whole.”
Sophomore Casey Davidson was also selected along with 96 other female nominees throughout college basketball. “When you do volunteer work you don’t do it to be recognized,” said Davidson. “It’s nice to be recognized for things that you think people don’t notice. I really feel so much joy in helping people. It’s just really nice being there for other people. Everyone needs a little extra love.”
Davidson has volunteered as a camp counselor for children who survived the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 2012 and has participated in various community service events with her team. “I have received so much help along the way,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to give back.”
“It’s great that she gives back and tries to help others,” said Brian Giorgis, head coach of the Marist women’s basketball team. “She’s a person that everybody on the team loves. She’s a great person to be around.” Collegiate athletes can have a tremendous impact on the community, and as Giorgis explains, “They’re role models for all of the people that come to watch them, especially younger kids.”
The final roster of 20 award recipients will be announced in February. These final award recipients will be comprised of 10 student-athletes from both the NABC and the WBCA. Five student-athletes will be from the NCAA Division I level and five will be selected from Divisions II, III, and the NAIA for both men and women. The voting panels will be headlined by former NBA player Grant Hill and WNBA player Skylar Diggins.