NEWBERRY, S.C. - It's the most wonderful time of the year, and Newberry College guards Cory Etheridge, Sammy Monroe, Zach Chandler and Matt Alexander are dishing out more than assists.
Post players Eric Nwawel, Jerrell Jeter, Mark Butler and Clemente Martin are delivering something other than points and rebounds.
Even head coach Shaun Golden has traded in his fever-pitch courtside manner for a Boy Scout-like bedside manner. It must be Christmas.
It seems to always be said, "What a terrible time for such-and-such to be in the hospital at Christmas." As true as that may be, the Newberry College men's basketball team made the holidays a little more joyful for an entire floor of patients at the Newberry County Memorial Hospital on December 20. Players and coaches visited nearly every room, interacting with patients and hospital staff alike, bringing smiles to every face.
Still on campus preparing for the December 22nd meeting with Charleston Southern, the team might have killed time playing video games, listening to music, or hitting the court for a few extra shots. Instead, the squad paid a visit to the county hospital to bring a little holiday cheer.
Several players, along with Golden, delivered meals to assist the hospital staffers. Many stepped into rooms and had dialogue with the patients. The exchange ranged from a full conversation down to "Merry Christmas", depending on the condition of each person being visited.
Senior guard Michael Dease broke into a chorus of "Jingle Bells", and only one or two patients requested that their doors be closed. He may not be a Pavarotti, but he did elicit smiles (and even laughter) from most bystanders.
"We are getting more involved in the community this year," Golden said during the outing. "Last year (which was Golden's first as a head coach), we just got too busy too fast and didn't set aside time for things like this. We won't make that mistake again."
Golden's efforts are not one-and-done. One week prior, three team members and the head coach made the short trek to Boundary Street Elementary School to read to second graders. View the article here.
Golden vows that there is more to come from his group of guys.
"These are quality young men who are good athletes, but first and foremost are good students and citizens of Newberry. I want everyone else to be able to see their character as well."