Wildfires hit home for 2 GCU players; team to participate in fundraiser

Oct 20, 2017, 9:04 PM

GCU senior guard Casey Benson drives on a teammate at the first practice of the season, Friday, Sep...

GCU senior guard Casey Benson drives on a teammate at the first practice of the season, Friday, September 29, 2017, Phoenix. (Photo by Jamie Nish/ Cronkite News)

(Photo by Jamie Nish/ Cronkite News)

PHOENIX — For two Grand Canyon men’s basketball players, the wildfires in Northern California have hit home.

That’s why freshman guard Damari Milstead, who is from Hayward, and sophomore guard Oscar Frayer, from Oakland, are grateful their team’s exhibition game against Nevada Sunday will be a fundraiser for the North Bay Fire Relief, a fund to help victims affected by the recent wildfires in Northern California.

“I’m glad the NCAA gave us the opportunity to give back and help my community,” Milstead said.

The wildfires in Northern California have caused 42 deaths, at least $1 billion in damage to insured properties and destroyed roughly 6,900 homes and structures, the Associated Press reported.

“GCU is all about outreach and helping doing as much as they can,” coach Dan Majerle in a press release. “That’s something we really thrive on as a university. Anything that we can do to help people that need help, I think is a great opportunity. We’re very happy to do that and this is an awesome event for us.”

The Wolf Pack will host the Antelopes at 4 p.m. at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno. Admission for the game will be $5 and all proceeds will be donated to North Bay Fire Relief.

The NCAA recently issued a ruling that allows teams to play an additional exhibition game as long as it’s for charitable purposes. GCU joins other teams around the country that have added games to donate the proceeds that benefit causes like hurricane relief.

“We think it’s an unbelievably great gesture from the NCAA to allow these games to be played in support of the horrific events that have taken place over the last few weeks,” Nevada head coach and former Arizona State assistant Eric Musselman said in a press release. “This game came together very quickly thanks to Grand Canyon’s administration, coaching staff and our administration. We can’t thank Grand Canyon University enough, and especially Coach Majerle, for enthusiastically participating in this event and their help to support such a great cause.”

Frayer said, “Seeing this tragedy that’s happening right now, I think us going out there as a university is going to benefit it a lot.”

GCU will host St. Francis (Ill.) in its second exhibition contest on Nov. 2 at Grand Canyon University Arena.

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