Now in the "Spotlight" - GEORGIA STATE (updated 11/28)


Georgia State basketball players with Atlanta youth

Friday, October 14th was Midnight Mania for the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams. However, hours before the start of basketball season, three members from both teams (Justin Billingslea, Deven Dickerson, Leonard Mendez, Timetra Richmond, Kelcey Roegiers-Jensen, Monica Thomas) made a lasting impression on the students at St. Peter Claver School. The 3rd – 8th grade students were brought into the school gymnasium to listen to the basketball players discuss the importance of education, time management, goals, discipline, hard work and having a positive attitude. The players also fielded questions from the students for 20 minutes...then the real fun began. The men’s basketball players put on a show by doing various dunks for the kids. Justin Billingslea worked the crowd and had the students cheering for more. The students chanted for the women’s basketball players to shoot 3’s. A shooting competition took place between the students and basketball players, with Monica Thomas hitting a shot from half court for the Georgia State win. The students played 6 on 3 against our men and women. The event concluded with autographs being signed by the players. Everyone involved enjoyed the day and the players left St. Peter Claver knowing they had a positive impact on the students.

In its continuing outreach into the community, the men's basketball team was invited by the University's Community Learning Center to an OctoberFest celebration at Parkside Elementary School in the city limits of Atlanta. The Panthers showed up in full force as the 12 players and five coaches donned their blue Panther warm-up suits and headed to the Grant Park area school to meet and have some fun with the children. Once there, no one was ever sure which group had the most fun. The Panthers pitched in to help distribute the game tickets and organize the events. They got down on their knees to help out, whether re-stacking the plastic bowling pins, or picking up the bean bags from the toss contest, or chatting face-to-face with one of the third, fourth, or fifth-grade students in attendance. The Panthers gave out the game prizes, shared some laughs, and offered some encouragement. Odds are great it was an evening neither the kids nor the team will soon forget.

On October 1st, the Georgia State Women’s Basketball team gave up their Saturday morning to volunteer at Brown Middle School during Hands on Atlanta Day. “Hands on Atlanta” is a non-profit organization that helps individuals and groups find opportunities to volunteer their services in the community. The team broke off into small groups to accomplish the tasks of planting flowers, painting curbs and painting handicapped signs. They also painted parking lines on an entire parking lot. The women’s basketball team joined the rest of the Atlanta community on a day devoted to community service!

Members of the Georgia State University community joined together for the largest blood drive in the history of the University on September 30, thanks to the Colonial Athletic Association's Have a Heart Blood Challenge.
Being that this is Georgia State's first year as a member of the CAA, this was the first time the school has taken part in the Challenge. This is the fourth year of the Challenge, begun by the presidents of the CAA member schools as a fun way to emphasize the importance of donating blood.
The massive undertaking involved almost every member of the Georgia State Athletic staff, and many of the student-athletes. All student-athletes who are not in season were allowed to donate blood. Many other student-athletes volunteered, helping members of the American Red Cross who were there to administer the blood drive.
All 12 CAA member schools will take part in the Challenge sometime during the fall semester. Georgia State was the first school this year to hold their blood drive.

Following the devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Georgia State volleyball team conducted a fundraiser on September 2nd and 3rd during the Wyndham Atlanta/Georgia State Invitational.
Admission to the Invitational was free; however, donations were accepted at the door. In addition, one-third of the proceeds from merchandise sales during the tournament were donated. Coupled with donations from the Athletic Department staff, the Volleyball team raised $702.00 for the American Red Cross.

The men’s soccer team hosted a clinic for children ages 6-13 at the Forsyth Fusion Soccer Complex on August 27th. They rotated the kids through stations where various soccer skills were taught. The clinic ended with the kids and team playing games. Following the clinic, many of the kids stayed at the complex to cheer on the soccer team as they beat Western Carolina in an exhibition game.

Check back next week for VCU in the spotlight!