Redshirt sophomore Raphe Ayres joins his new teammates on the bench during the Bears exhibition match on Nov. 5 at Great Southern Bank Arena.

Being involved in the community reflects who Missouri State University’s players are on and off the court. Leadership and skill growth impact the entire team by giving the players room to rise to the occasion and assist others. To put this ideas into action, every week during this summer the MSU men’s basketball team performed community service acts.  

 Head coach Dana Ford said that he tells his players they need to have appreciation for what they get to do every day and that’s for everyone. 

 The players spoke on how community service helped them become the players they tend to be this upcoming season, while acknowledging how Coach Dana Ford emphasize the importance of It all.  

“Community service has helped me become more of a man, like develop more into a person instead of just like doing it just to say I did it,” said sophomore guard Alston Mason.” Coach Ford has talked about understanding why you are doing something and what you’re doing it for. And that just kind of made me look at stuff a lot different.”  

 “I really appreciate coach and his ability to actually get us out to those type of things, “sophomore guard/forward James Graham III said, “(Coach Ford) really preaches to us being a better person, being a better man off the court, so being out in the community is something I pride myself on.” 

With the heavy presence in the community from the men’s team. The players have children that work closely with them and speak to them on a regular basis. If the children come to a game the players plan to invite them back, they will have them back to their locker room beforehand.   

 “We do a lot of summer camps, majority of the kids that support our team would come here over the summer and most of the guys are in town for workouts,” said junior guard Raphe Ayres. “We’ll be camp counselors and we can put a smile on the kids face and try to be the best role model that we can be for them.” 

The community service projects that the men’s basketball team participated in included reading to students at the Greenwood Laboratory School. Working with the organization Good Dads, and participating in Bears, Badges & kids, canned food drives.


Follow O’Shayla Muldrow on Twitter, @muldrow_o

Subscribe to The Standard’s free weekly newsletter here.