You’re viewing a version of this story optimized for slow connections. To see the full story click here.

Hoops for Hope

10th Anniversary

Story by Vol Photos August 29th, 2017

The University of Tennessee men’s and women’s basketball teams took part in the annual Hoops for Hope event Saturday at Knoxville Christian School. The event, now in its 10th year, benefits the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee.

20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_004.JPG
“This is something that we look forward to every year,” Lady Vols senior Mercedes Russell said. “I know the kids are excited, but we are probably just as excited as them for this event. It’s always fun to spend time with them and just enjoy the game of basketball.”


20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_025.JPG

The Vols and Lady Vols interacted with participants for two hours, instructing hotshot stations and playing five-on-five games.

20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_008.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_007.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_012.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_026.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_028.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_030.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_052.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_054.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_047.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_056.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_055.JPG

Before each game, participants took the court through a tunnel of Tennessee athletes, receiving high fives and cheers.

20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_057.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_019.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_022.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_038.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_040.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_059.JPG

After the final game, student-athletes danced with the participants before signing autographs.

20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_058.JPG
“The best part of this event would have to be the dancing,” Vols sophomore Lamonte Turner said. “Just dancing with the kids and being free and opening up to them and putting smiles on their faces is such a great experience.”
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_042.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_043.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_063.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_071.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_074.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_083.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_085.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_087.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_075.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_035.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_033.JPG
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_034.JPG

The event was organized as an Eagle Scout project by Tanner Sexton, a junior at Farragut High School. Now in its 10th year, Hoops for Hope has become quite the family tradition for the Sextons. The event was first founded by Trey Sexton, Tanner’s older brother, as his Eagle Scout project in 2008.

“It means a lot for this event to be in its 10th year. It started out just being a one-time thing, but the UT players and coaches said, ‘Hey, let’s do it again,’” Tanner Sexton said.
20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_003.JPG
“I’ve been pretty involved in years past, helping out where I could. This started as my older brother’s project, but it’s really different this year being in charge of it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s been fun.”

For more information on the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee, click HERE (http://www.dsagtn.org/).

20170826_BB_HoopsForHope_KZ_014.JPG
Footnote: Story by Kim Hood. Photos by Kyle Zedaker. All content is property of the University of Tennessee and protected by copyright laws.
Knoxville Christian School, Snyder Road, Knoxville, TN, United States