LAWRENCE (KSNT) – Several former KU basketball players and hundreds of fans gathered in Lawrence on Thursday to raise money for families of kids in Kansas fighting cancer.
The 14th annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic took place at Lawrence Free State High School. Brian Hanni, ‘the voice of the Jayhawks’, founded and organizes the annual KU basketball alumni all-star game.
Nineteen former Kansas players made up two teams for Thursday night’s game but Hanni says a total of 47 players are back in town for the weekend festivities. Hanni says he’s hoping the weekend events will raise more than $200,000. Over the years the event has raised nearly $1 million for families in need, Hanni says.
Devonte’ Graham, who now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, along with Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike, Svi Mykhailiuk and many other players made up the star studded rosters. Hanni says these former Jayhawks understand how to use their influence for good.
“They’ve got a great understanding of the platform that they have to give back,” Hanni said.
He says he appreciates their willingness to take the time to return for the big game.
“They’re taking three days to make life changing dollars of difference to these families, and that means the world to me.” Hanni said.
The game’s full rosters can be seen here.
The former KU players in attendance formed a tunnel for starting lineups as five young ones battling cancer had their names called. The moment was special to the kids, their families, the KU players and everyone else in Lawrence Free State’s gym on Thursday night.
“They’re going to feel like they are the real heroes, because you know what? They are,” Hanni said. “That’s why we’re here.”
The fundraising events will continue Friday with a VIP Dinner at Burge Union in Lawrence. The dinner will have 30 former Jayhawk stars in attendance with one of them sitting at each table.
On Saturday, a ‘Rock Chalk Roundbowl’ will be held at Royal Crest Lanes where participants can bowl with the former Jayhawks. Bowling team and sponsorship tickets are still available, as well as t-shirts and hats. For more information, or to make a donation or purchase a ticket click here.