Virginia Coach Tony Bennett Brings Malcolm Brogdon’s Hoops2o Initiative to College Basketball
Malcolm Brogdon had already assembled a formidable squad of NBA players—including Joe Harris and Garrett Temple of the Brooklyn Nets, Anthony Tolliver of the Portland Trail Blazers, De’Andre Hunter of the Atlanta Hawks and Donte DiVincenzo of the Milwaukee Bucks—to help with his Hoops2o initiative. All that group needed to further its mission of building water wells in East Africa was a coach.
That is, until this week, when University of Virginia head coach Tony Bennett joined the cause. In doing so, Tony, who led the program to its first NCAA tournament championship this year, will be reunited with a handful of his former Cavaliers players, from Malcolm, Joe and Garrett to De’Andre, Sacramento Kings guard Kyle Guy and NBA veteran Justin Anderson.
“I’m excited to work with the entire Hoops2o roster and bring this mission to NCAA basketball,” Tony said in a statement. “Just as NBA fans have rallied around the cause, I know our UVA and collegiate fans will join me in making a big impact for individuals and communities through the gift of clean water.”
Tony’s efforts to bring Hoops2o to college basketball began on December 8, when Virginia hosted the University of North Carolina in a battle of top-10 teams at John Paul Jones Arena. The coach wore a Hoops2o pin and pocket square, and the broadcast included a piece about the initiative. This follows a week of Hoops2o-related programming in Charlottesville, including a “Lighting of the Lawn” event on Thursday and a beer release from Champion Brewing Company on Friday.
Moreover, Tony and his wife, Laurel, are personally funding the construction of a water well that’s expected to serve 8,700 people in Isinya, Kenya.
"I learned so much about servanthood and gratitude during my time playing under coach Bennett," Malcolm said in a statement. "Having him on board ensures we will educate more fans about the need that exists in East Africa. It will strengthen the impact the UVA community and collegiate fans can have on the world water crisis."
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.