USC Hoops Hosts Special Olympians

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By USC SID

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) -- The South Carolina men's basketball team concluded the first day of the "8K In 8 Days" campaign by hosting Special Olympics of South Carolina in a community outreach event Tuesday night at Colonial Life Arena.

"This meant a lot to us to give back to the community because [head coach] Frank [Martin] always teaches us that you never know when your day might be over, to make every day your best and be the best man you can possibly be every day," senior guard Tyrone Johnson said.

"I'm not just speaking for myself, but also my teammates and coaches and everyone else here when I say that there's no better feeling than working with these kids."

The team opened up the evening by introducing themselves to the crowd before splitting everyone into smaller groups. Within their groups, participants competed in shooting contests, worked on dribbling technique and received a tour of the Gamecocks' locker room and weight room facilities.

Special Olympics South Carolina has achieved a great deal this year on the basketball court, sending two of its teams to the national tournament where they won a gold and silver medal.

"This means a great deal to our athletes," Leigh Cheatham, Director of Communication for Special Olympics South Carolina said of the event. "They may not always have this type of one-on-one with a Division I sports team. They train and compete just like these guys do and they take their game very seriously so to come hang out with them and learn from them is really a big deal. I don't think anyone gets this kind of one-on-one treatment. It shows that they respect what Special Olympics does and stands for."

Before the conclusion of the event, which included members of the team signing autographs and taking pictures with the group, the Gamecocks made a presentation to the organization.

Part of the mission statement of Special Olympics is as follows: "... experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community." With that in mind, the Gamecock men's basketball team presented Special Olympics South Carolina with six season tickets for the upcoming 2014-15 season. This will provide for Special Olympics athletes and their families the opportunity to experience a game at Colonial Life Arena.

Season ticket prices for the upcoming season remain unchanged from the 2013-14 campaign, with full season packages starting at $90. Like last season, fans can purchase lower level season tickets for $260 (Gamecock Club membership required for sections 104-106, 113-115) and University faculty and staff can buy tickets for $210. The Coke Family Section is available for $600 (four tickets). Upper level tickets are available for $200 (no Gamecock Club membership required) and faculty and staff can purchase tickets in the upper bowl for $160. End zone seating in the upper level is priced at four seats for $360.

Gamecock fans who have already renewed their season tickets for the 2014-15 campaign and those fans who purchase new or renew their season tickets during the "8K In 8 Days" campaign, are eligible to win a prize each day of the initiative. Prizes include a game-worn jersey, an autographed basketball, a $100 gift card to Garnet and Black Traditions, and the grand prize, a VIP trip with the team for an away game to an exciting destination.

To place a deposit for season tickets, fans are encouraged to visit GamecocksOnline.com/Tickets, or all 1-800-4SC-FANS. Fans should stay tuned to GamecocksOnline.com for updates on the "8K In 8 Days" campaign.

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