SHARON PATCH: "Special Needs Basketball Practice Addition has Visitors Winning, Too"

Stonehill men's basketball team helps the kids with passing and other hoop skills.
By Michael Gelbwasser, Sharon Patch
February 5, 2012

Click to view video footage from the Skyhawks visit

Stonehill men's basketball head coach David McLaughlin works with some students from the Sharon Stars. (PHOTO BY Michael Gelbwasser)

Some parents of Sharon special needs students have discussed going to a Stonehill College men's basketball game.

But today, the Stonehill College men's basketball team came to them.

For the second straight Sunday, the Skyhawks have passed and shot with the 15 students in the Sharon Basketball Stars special needs basketball program during the kids' practice at the East Elementary School.

Program leader Katie Currul-Dykeman said she contacted Skyhawks head coach David McLaughlin after some parents expressed interest in watching his team.

"It was one quick e-mail, and he jumped on it," said Currul-Dykeman, an assistant professor of criminology at the Easton college.

McLaughlin calls the activity "a great situation" for the team as well as the youngsters.

"To be able to work with youths in the community is going to give them that feeling that it's not just about Stonehill when you're in college," McLaughlin said last week during the first practice.

The players can see that "through being a student-athlete, I can have a positive influence," McLaughlin said.

"Just encouraging (the kids), maybe giving them a little bit of a skill here or there, maybe showing them how to throw a pass the right way," he said.

Senior guard and tri-captain Andre Tongo agreed.

"Hopefully, they get a little bit of a role model from us playing," he said.

"Hopefully, they'll have fun with us."

McLaughlin said the Skyhawks hope to welcome the Sharon kids to a game.

"I really like this relationship," he said.

"Hopefully, we can keep this going."