Nebraska Hoops Tour stops in Grand Island, offers Huskers a ‘special experience’
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Nebraska Hoops Tour took a stop in Grand Island Thursday with players from both the men’s and women’s basketball programs from the University of Nebraska instructing a youth camp for kids in 3rd-8th grade at Grand Island Senior High.
“Everyone travels to Lincoln to see us and I don’t think it’s a big deal for me to travel to see them,” said Derrick Walker, Nebraska men’s basketball senior forward. “Everyone’s not offered the opportunity to play basketball or to come to our games, so being able to get out into the community and meet people outside of being in the gym, or being at a game, it’s amazing.”
It was the first time both of Nebraska’s basketball teams held a tandem camp in Grand Island. There were roughly 200 youth basketball players participating from nearly 25 different cities — including Phoenix, Arizona, being represented.
“It’s pretty special,” said Allison Weidner, Nebraska women’s basketball sophomore guard. “We get along real well with the men’s team and it’s a lot of fun just working a camp with them and having a lot of fun with them.”
Players for both programs said they had not previously spent much time in Grand Island, but that the experience will be a memorable one.
“I haven’t been to Grand Island that often, but to bring some teammates out here into western Nebraska, I think is pretty cool,” Weidner said. “We want to have these kids come support us at our games and we really want to make an impact on them and hopefully inspire them ... It’s an incredible feeling. I grew up being a Husker fan, so I kind of know how it feels, so just seeing that continuing down the lines, it’s really cool to see.”
“It’s very fun for me, but also the team, just to be able to get out here and just hang out with the kids and just put a smile on their faces because they’re some of our biggest supporters,” Walker added. “They come to our games and they watch us from all the way out here, so it just means a lot for us to be able to come all the way out here and interact with the kids, just have fun, give back to the kids.”
The experience was made possible through a NIL collective associated with Nebraska called Athlete Impact Management.
”With NIL being a thing, it’s all about building yourself, building your brand and building your program,” Walker said. “For us to be able to do this, it helps us all around. And I hope it doesn’t stop in Grand Island. I hope it’s in more cities around Nebraska.”
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