KANSAS CITY, Mo. – College of Charleston redshirt freshman center/forward Osinachi Smart (Umuahia, Nigeria) was one of 10 men’s college basketball players recognized for their outstanding community service efforts as the 2018 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Give Back Team was announced by the organization on Thursday.
The 2018 Give Back Team included five student-athletes from NCAA® Division I and five from NCAA Division II and III and NAIA Division I and II, selected from a group of 69 nominated by college coaches and sports information directors across the country.
Representing NCAA Division I were Smart, Shawn Anderson of the U.S. Naval Academy, Brian Dawkins of Elon, Justin Johnson of Western Kentucky and Desmond Ringer of Mercer.
Last summer, Smart and his older brother Ikenna, a junior power forward at the University of Buffalo, traveled back home to Nigeria. After being away for several years while in the U.S. attending high school and college, the Smart brothers wanted to take back something for the kids in their hometown.
“Growing up in Nigeria, we did not have a lot,” Osinachi Smart said. “I knew the only thing that I could bring back that I knew could put joy and happiness on all of my friends’ (and kids’) faces were basketball shoes.”
The Smart brothers noticed that at the end of each college basketball season, players would throw away their used shoes. In all, they collected more than 90 pairs of basketball shoes and held a basketball clinic for boys and girls in Umuahia.
“He’s an unbelievable teammate and he will do anything for any of the guys on our team,” CofC Head Coach Earl Garit said. “With his personality, his athleticism and his selflessness, I think it makes a huge impact on our team and our program.”
Representing NCAA Division II-III and the NAIA were Alec Andrews of the California Institute of Technology, Seth Hawley of the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Ryan Maha of Carnegie Mellon University, Nick Mutebi of Wayne State University and Tyler Robinson of Lyon College.
“The NABC Give Back Team provides an opportunity to recognize the exceptional selfless humanitarian acts performed by men’s college basketball student-athletes,” NABC Executive Director Jim Haney said. “The 10 young men selected for this honor have made significant contributions to assist those in need while helping lift the human spirit.”
About the National Association of Basketball Coaches
Located in Kansas City, MO, the NABC was founded in 1927 by Forrest “Phog” Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. Allen, a student of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, organized coaches into this collective group to serve as Guardians of the Game. The NABC currently has nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men’s basketball coaches. All members of the NABC are expected to uphold the core values of being a Guardian of the Game by bringing attention to the positive aspects of the sport of basketball and the role coaches play in the academic and athletic lives of today’s student-athletes.