The Xavier University of Louisiana men’s basketball was recently named as the NAIA ‘Champions of Character’ team, an honor given for year-long commitment to integrity in play and community service.
It is the first time a Xavier team has won the award, and according to members of the team, reflects XULA’s tradition of excellence in all aspects of life for student-athletes.
“I don’t think that character is something that we have to talk about as a team on a regular basis because it really just seems to be a part of our program,” XU senior guard Gary Smith said. “Our coach has never made basketball the most important thing in our lives. Since I was recruited, he’s dealt with me as a person first and an athlete second. So I think that has helped us as a team because we’re able to keep things in perspective.
The Gold Rush collected winter coats and toiletries for the homeless this season, as well as volunteering for toy drives and mentoring for secondary students in New Orleans.