July 28, 2011
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University men's basketball student-athletes Mike Ladd and Patrick Simon made appearances at the Pullman Learning Center, Wednesday, as part of the center's sports week theme. The Learning Center is located at the Gladdish Cultural Community Center.
Ladd and Simon, along with men's basketball's operations assistant, Tim Marrion, spent an hour with the group of kids, grades kindergarten through fourth, meeting the children and teaching them basketball fundamentals. Simon taught the kids shooting while Ladd worked on ball handling with the youngsters.
Both also stressed the importance of school and balancing class-work with their basketball careers. Ladd elaborated, telling the kids that when he was young his mother would not allow him to play basketball until all his homework was completed. Simon added that although he loves basketball, he would not have been given the opportunity to play at the collegiate level if it weren't for him keeping his grades up through high school.
Following instruction and their stories, both Ladd and Simon answered questions from the crowd.
"We had a great time interacting with the local kids, while teaching them some of the basic fundamentals of basketball," Marrion said. "It's good to see our players having an active presence locally as they understand the positive impact they can potentially have throughout the community. We are planning many more community-related events during the upcoming season."
Simon will be a sophomore this season, after averaging 3.2 points in 29 games last season. Ladd, who transferred from Fresno State, will be a redshirt junior after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Earlier this summer Ladd and Marrion, along with Faisal Aden, Marcus Capers, Chuks Iroegbu, DaVonté Lacy, D.J. Shelton and Royce Woolridge helped build a house for Palouse Habitat for Humanity in Uniontown, Wash.