Five members of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team spent a little time playing a different kind of ball Monday afternoon.
They played “mat ball” — a modified version of kickball — with students at Picadome Elementary School.
“It was really fun,” said fourth-grader Violet Updike, 9. “My dad’s going to be super jealous.”
Violet said she “felt like a munchkin” alongside the players: freshmen Marcus Lee, Dakari Johnson and twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison, and redshirt senior Jon Hood.
Johnson, a center from Brooklyn, N.Y., grinned after the game was over, saying, “We could’ve won it.”
He said he enjoyed “just putting smiles on their faces.”
Hood told the 50 or so students gathered in the gym after school that academics were a lot like basketball: “The more we practice at reading, math, social studies, we’re going to get better at that, too.”
“Following a win against Jabari Parker and Simeon Career Academy (Ill.), the nation’s top center Dakari Johnson (Montverde Academy/New York, N.Y.) announced live on ESPNU that he has committed to the University of Kentucky.
TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 8: (L-R) University of Kentucky draftees Dakari Johnson #44 of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns, Trey Lyles of the Utah Jazz, Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Willie Cauley-Stein of the Sacramento Kings pose for a portrait during the 2015 NBA rookie photo shoot on August 8, 2015 at the Madison Square Garden Training Facility in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)