October 7, 2009
By Michael Omenazu
UIS prides itself on its small class sizes which allow students to be more than unidentifiable numbers; it provides the opportunity for them to develop relationships with their professors.
These affiliations are tested in an annual Homecoming event that pits students against faculty members and alumni in a friendly and good-natured basketball game.
Under the bright lights of TRAC arena, home of both UIS basketball teams, the game was played before a large crowd that came out to attend homecoming festivities.
Students and staff became stars as the starting lineups and reserves for both squads were announced. I, myself, had transitioned from being a writer that usually reported on the games held in the stadium to an active participant.
A few of the former athletes I had previously covered playing in intense conference clashes returned to partake in the contest as well. Close teammates once before now had become foes both familiar with and facing off against one another.
Former UIS basketball players that joined in the contest included Kelvin Johnson along with Sami Rasmussmen for the Faculty/Alumni team and Ralph Woodson, Daniel Selvie and Latrice Nettles supporting the student side.
Selvie commented, “It was fun to play in the game, it was a new experience, something I had never done before.”
He also said, “I was appreciative of the crowd and the fans that came out to support the game. It felt good beating up on the old-timers and showing them that the students still run it.”
However, he did add, “I also look forward to joining the alumni team and getting a win for that side sometime in the future.”
The current faculty/alumni squad was highlighted with rosters reservations that included the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, VC Student Affairs Stephen Chrans and Diversity Center Coordinator of Programs and Outreach Herb Caldwell.
Last year in overtime, the student squad suffered a heartbreaking defeat. Once again the match was close with both teams wrestling with the lead. The faculty/alumni remained resilient, coming back from a deficit late in the game.
However the student side prevailed in a nail-bitter with a slim margin, due to strong team play, clutch shooting and depth in youth.
Traditionally teachers are more than educators as they instruct their pupils in lessons about life inside and outside of the classroom. However, it was the team of students that were able to school their professors along with faculty members and alumni, perhaps not in academics but at least in athletics.