Birmingham, Ala. - In a continuing effort to recognize the accomplishments of student-athletes beyond the field of competition, the SEC once again highlighted a Community Service Team for men's basketball for the 2019-20 season.
This marks the 22nd year for the SEC Community Service Team for men's basketball as well as for women's basketball. All 21 league-sponsored sports have had a Community Service Team since 2004, with at-large teams for men's and women's sports being chosen from 1999-2003. The SEC began this concept with a football Community Service Team in 1994.
Herbert Jones, Alabama
Junior Herbert Jones is not only leader on the court and a team co-captain, but he is also a leader off the court and in the community. Jones topped all men's basketball players at the University of Alabama in community service hours this past year. Among the items that he was involved with was the 'Stay In It To Win It' campaign when he spoke to students at Collins-Riverside Middle School on making good decisions outside of the classroom and the importance of creating a support network. Additional community service projects include visiting and interacting with patients in local area hospitals as well as participating in school fund-raising initiatives.
Adrio Bailey, Arkansas
Adrio Bailey uses his infectious out-going personality to be the "glue" of the Razorback men's basketball program and be a positive representative for the University in the community. His service off the court includes visits to Katherine's Place (an assisted living center) and Boys and Girls Club. In addition to his service in the community, Bailey is a three-year member of SAAC and two-year member of the SEC Men's Basketball Leadership Council. As part of his SAAC service, Bailey has participated in Sweat Hawgs (elementary program focusing on health and wellness), Book Hogs (encourages students at the elementary school level to enjoy reading), Shop with SAAC (raising money and going shopping with several deserving kids in the Fayetteville community) and Lift Up America (NWA Food Bank to help bring the gift of food to the area's less fortunate).
Austin Wiley, Auburn
Austin Wiley has been involved in various community service projects. He has spent time at the East Alabama Food Bank where he sorted food and stuffed bags of food for those in need around the Auburn area. Wiley has also spent time during the Christmas season at the local Auburn Community Center where he organized and passed out toys. He has volunteered his time at Camp Smile A Mile where he encouraged and uplifted kids with health ailments. Wiley has also read to students as part of the Ogletree Elementary Reading Program. He has served as a cleaner and decorator during the holiday season for the Christian ministry called Our House. Wiley has also spent time with the Jason Dufner Foundation where he stuffed backpacks to help end child hunger in Lee County. He has also visited children and cancer patients receiving treatment at the East Alabama Medical Center and the Children's Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham.
Anthony Duruji, Florida
Anthony Duruji is making the most of his sit-out season on and off the court. Coming to Florida from Louisiana Tech this summer, Duruji has jumped right in and been a constant presence in the Gators' community efforts. He has participated in numerous summer and after-school programs at a local school, volunteered at the annual Climb for Cancer event hosted by Florida student-athletes and spent time volunteering at a domestic violence shelter. Duruji and his teammates also adopted Eli, a 12-year-old boy from Gainesville who has leukemia, through the Team IMPACT organization.
Rayshaun Hammonds, Georgia
Rayshaun Hammonds has been active within the Athens community throughout his three seasons with the Georgia Basketball team. He serves as the team's representative on UGA's Student-Advisory Advisory Committee (SAAC) and also is the Bulldogs' member of the SEC Leadership Council for Men's Basketball. Among his community service activities, Hammonds has taken park in: Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services summer "Grand Slam" programming, a series of Friday evening events for youth ages 11-14; visiting with youth who take part in after school programs at the Boys and Girls Club of Athens; collecting food and promoting collections for the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia; and shopping for Christmas presents for deserving youth from the Boys and Girls Club of Athens.
Nate Sestina, Kentucky
Throughout his collegiate career, Sestina has been a mainstay in the community. In his first year at Kentucky, he's already participated in packing lunches, distributing to a local school and playing backyard games with a local elementary school as a part of God's Pantry. He was a part of serving Thanksgiving dinner to the Salvation Army and participated in a Samaritan's Feet project. Sestina is known to visit local elementary schools and read to the students. He's also been a part of the campus clothing swap, in which he helped collect new and gently used clothing items to donate to Central Kentucky's YMCA. He's also the men's basketball representative on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. His service didn't begin at Kentucky, and he was also known for serving others during his four-year career at Bucknell. One of his favorite projects while at Bucknell involved coordinating and executing a local marathon with other student-athletes. Sestina is also active at home while he is visiting family during his breaks from college. He can often be found offering motivational talks to the football and basketball teams at his former high school and reads at the local elementary school. Sestina also volunteers at his church, where he packs and organizes donations and distributes the items to families. During the holiday season, he joins his family in singing carols and helping decorate at The Manor, a local assisted living facility.
Marshall Graves, LSU
Been part of basketball team's efforts at the LSU Halloween Boozar on sorority row handing out candy to local children dressed for Halloween in October 2018 and October 2019 and creating games for them to play while on hand ... Participated in the Christmas Shopping with youth from Baton Rouge Boys & Girls Club in December 2017, 2018 and 2019 ... Lead Youth Ministries and Bible Studies at New Zion Baptist Church in Ponchatoula, LA (2017 to present) ... Organize community basketball games at New Zion Baptist Church in Ponchatoula, LA (2017 to present).
Franco Miller Jr., Ole Miss
Franco Miller has been an active member in the Oxford community, volunteering in several different initiatives. His biggest activity was coordinating a campus-wide Hurricane Dorian Relief Drive to help those affected by the devastating hurricane that hit his native country of The Bahamas. Miller has also participated in Adopt‐a‐Basket, which gives food items to families in need during the Thanksgiving season. As part of Reading with the Rebels, he has visited several local schools to promote the importance of reading while sharing some of his favorite books. During the summer, the Ole Miss men's basketball team visited LeBonheur Children's Hospital to interact with the kids there and take part in an entertaining show for the patients. Miller joined the team in going to the Children's Hospital of Mississippi as well. Finally, Miller helped raise more than $10,000 as part of the first #SinkCancer event at Ole Miss. Members of the Ole Miss student body shot free throws and half court shots, making head coach Kermit Davis donate for every shot made throughout the event. Miller encouraged the students and assisted with the flow of the event.
Abdul Ado, Mississippi State
Abdul Ado has been an active member in his community. Ado has spent a great amount of time impacting the youth in the area at various summer camps, most notably the Palmer Home for Children Summer Camp and Camp Rising Sun. At the Palmer Home for Children Summer Camp, Ado spent the day teaching and playing basketball with the foster kids that resided at the Palmer Home in Columbus, Mississippi.
Reed Nikko, Missouri
Reed Nikko spearheaded a team effort in the community that resulted in Mizzou Men's Hoops receiving Mizzou Athletics' annual Team Community Service Award for exemplary dedication to giving back to Columbia. Nikko spent more than 50 hours at the Central Missouri Food Bank, helping pack more than 5,000 pounds of food for those in need. He also led Mizzou's partnership with Rainbow House, a local organization that provides housing and resources for children dealing with abuse. Nikko delivered hundreds of teddy bears and toys to the kids there during the holiday season. Additionally, Nikko spent time at Mizzou's book club the program established at a junior high school in town. Nikko and company read select texts and discuss things about life and leadership with coming-of-age boys in the community. He also spent time working with the Ronald McDonald House and specifically helped clean houses. Nikko additionally took trips to the MU Children's Hospital to visit with kids and simply spend time with them. As Mizzou's senior captain, he continued the team's strong ties with the local Boys & Girls club chapter, hosting free clinics for youth and helping raise more than $150,000 at the annual Hoops for a Cause event.
Nathan Nelson, South Carolina
Sophomore forward Nathan Nelson has participated in numerous community outreach initiatives during his time in the Garnet and Black. He has joined his teammates for the 8K Community Outreach Campaign during the summer months, participating in events at Sowing Seeds, the Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity and also visiting the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia. At Sowing Seeds, Nelson helped with a gardening project, and he and his teammates hosted a luau at the Ronald McDonald House at the Prisma Children's Hospital during the Campaign. He has also spent time at the Salvation Army, at Harvest Hope Food Bank, with the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, at the YMCA and at a holiday event at Shaw Air Force Base for military members and their families.
John Fulkerson, Tennessee
John Fulkerson has made community outreach an integral part of his time at the University of Tennessee. Notably, he has participated in the annual Hoops For Hope event in West Knoxville. Each year, the Tennessee men's basketball team spends a day playing basketball with individuals with special needs. Over the years, Fulkerson has built relationships with a number of participants and their families, making an impact in Knoxville beyond the confines of the Tennessee campus. In December of 2019, Fulkerson spent several hours engaging with local children in conjunction with the opening of the Emerald Youth Haslam-Sansom Ministry Complex. Strong in his faith, he also is active with Sevier Heights Baptist Church near the UT campus. During the Fall semester of 2019, Fulkerson was incredibly active with Tennessee's Best Buddies program. Best Buddies focuses on pairing a UT student with a person with an intellectual disability to form a one-on-one friendship. Each of the last three years, he has also been involved with Tennessee's branch of SAAC, through which he has helped with the annual Voloween event. There, UT student-athletes interact with the children of UT faculty and staff and other members of the Knoxville community, providing a fun and laid-back atmosphere where kids get to play and interact with their role models who compete for the Big Orange.
Wendell Mitchell, Texas A&M
During the Aggies' foreign tour to Costa Rica, Mitchell participated in three community service projects with Samaritan's Feet and Special Olympics of Costa Rica. With Samaritan's Feet, Mitchell washed the feet of local school children before gifting them with brand new pairs of socks and shoes. Mitchell assisted in Texas A&M's clinic with the Special Olympics of Costa Rica where they played basketball and a variety of games with local children with special needs. Mitchell took part in Buzz's Bunch over the summer, which is a program started by head coach Buzz Williams with a primary objective of helping children with special needs come together socially while hopefully falling in love with the game of basketball. During the day-long camp, Mitchell helped campers play basketball, partake in weight room drills and tour the facilities used by the team. Additionally, Mitchell and his teammate bought presents during the holiday season which were later distributed to local families in need.
Isaiah Rice, Vanderbilt
Started a program called 'Boys 2 Men' at Buena Vista Elementary School, working with a group of 5 boys where he has read and helped in the classrooms, worked a donation drive to collect household items, served a Thanksgiving meal, participated in field Day and facilitated a basketball clinic for 2nd graders. Additionally, he participated in the Hurricane Harvey Flood Drive, served dinner to those in need at the Nashville Rescue Mission, reading to students at Percy Priest Elementary Readathon and played bingo with patients in Ryan Seacrest Studios at the Children's Hospital. The Dancing Dores Captain for the men's basketball team, he led his team in raising money for Dance Marathon and the Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt (2019 and 2020). Rice was a top five fundraiser for all of Vanderbilt University in 2019. Rice has also hosted the team Miracle Child at a basketball practice and game (2019 and 2020) and participated in the Dance Marathon Big Event (2019 and 2020).