Basketball players

KU men’s basketball players help Family Promise of Lawrence

LAURENT — Kansas football players such as Devin Neal and Kenny Logan Jr. have seen their work with the name, image and likeness (NIL) space intersect with their desire to help charities this year.

This is due to their participation in the 5K Home Run supporting Family Promise of Lawrence, an organization that helps families in Douglas County experiencing a housing crisis. This allowed them to benefit from their NIL while working to improve the community in which they live. And in recent days, Kansas men’s basketball players have participated in events that have also benefited Family Promise of Lawrence.

On Sunday, there was the family promise of Lawrence Live Auction Party. Monday was the Dale Willey Memorial Golf Tournament. And events have shown again how adopting NIL can mean community betterment.

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“It’s a great opportunity,” rookie basketball player Ernest Udeh Jr. said at the golf event on Monday. “A lot of people see what we do on the pitch, but it’s different and some people don’t really understand that behind the lights and behind the cameras, we’re actually real human beings who understand real world issues. And that’s something we look forward to, and just being able to get out into the community and give back is always an opportunity we’re ready to take.

Ernest Udeh Jr. (back) has built a significant profile throughout his career as a basketball player.  He uses it to help Family Promise of Lawrence.

Udeh and Gradey Dick, a freshman teammate on the basketball team, said the connection to Family Promise of Lawrence began through sophomore teammate Charlie McCarthy and McCarthy’s father. This led some athletes to attend the live auction and attend the Memorial Golf Tournament.

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Udeh’s hometown is listed as Orlando, Florida. Dick is from Wichita, Kansas. But they came to town with an appreciation for how Family Promise of Lawrence solves a universal problem. People already know them for what they can accomplish in the field. It’s a way for them and their teammates to draw attention to what’s going on.

“Using my platform that I can use is, I think, the most important thing I can do as an athlete,” Dick said. “Use this platform that maybe not many people have… to bring attention to all these foundations, all these genuine things that are super important.”

Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas athletics at the Topeka Capital-Journal. Reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.