University of Houston basketball coach Kelvin Sampson put out the call. The University of Hawaii answered it.
As part of a #HoustonStrong campaign amid flooding devastation from Hurricane Harvey, Sampson requested 20 shirts and 10 pairs of shoes from athletics programs at all levels to aid people of the nation’s fourth-largest city.
The Rainbow Warriors came through with three or four boxes of supplies. Director of operations Todd Okeson estimated they included “50-70 shirts, 30-40 pairs of socks, other sweats, tights, slippers.” The team packed them up together on Thursday before a workout followed by an open gym session in Klum Gym.
UH has a Texas native on its roster in Brocke Stepteau, a fourth-year junior guard out of Dallas.
“It’s hard to miss this tragedy that’s going on in Houston right now,” Stepteau said Friday. “It’s hard to make a significant contribution like what you think needs to be done, but what we did yesterday was definitely a big step and big for us to help any way we can. We have a lot of gear, so we tried to put that to good use and send that to Houston to help anyone who could (use it).”
Each member of the team was asked by coach Eran Ganot to donate at least one piece of unused piece of UH gear to go with some reserve equipment from the team’s storage room. For Stepteau, his contribution was a T-shirt.
“Everyone contributed and Coach Ganot, all the coaches brought a lot of stuff,” Stepteau said.
— HAWAII BASKETBALL (@HawaiiMBB) September 1, 2017
Stepteau has an uncle and a cousin who live in Houston, but they, as well as some of Stepteau’s old basketball friends in the area were mostly unaffected, he said.
“Just being from the same state, it’s just crazy to see what is going on right now,” the point guard said. “It doesn’t really happen in a place like Houston too often. Even though Dallas and Houston have this kind of, this rivalry so to speak — especially in sports and which city’s better — but it’s great to see the whole state come together. People in Dallas are making big contributions and (people) all over the state. It’s just sad to see what’s happening.”
He added that he’s been encouraged by footage and photos of regular people helping each other.
“I’ve seen everything pretty much through Twitter. I’ve seen good and bad. Luckily it looks like it’s slowing down and gearing up towards a rebuild.”
The support across the country has been overwhelming for Sampson.
— Coach Kelvin Sampson (@CoachSampsonUH) August 31, 2017
Kudos to UH for doing its part for the other UH.