Vols, Lady Vols turn out for "Hoops for Hope" game, raise down s

Vols, Lady Vols turn out for "Hoops for Hope" game, raise down syndrome awareness

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It may not be the biggest game of the year, but it is by far the most special. The UT men's and women's basketball teams turning out Saturday for the annual Hoops for Hope event. It may not be the biggest game of the year, but it is by far the most special. The UT men's and women's basketball teams turning out Saturday for the annual Hoops for Hope event.
It may not be the biggest game of the year, but it is by far the most special. The UT men's and women's basketball teams turning out Saturday for the annual Hoops for Hope event. It may not be the biggest game of the year, but it is by far the most special. The UT men's and women's basketball teams turning out Saturday for the annual Hoops for Hope event.
Knoxville, TN -  By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It may not be the biggest game of the year, but it is by far the most special.

The UT men's and women's basketball teams turning out Saturday for the annual Hoops for Hope event.

Hoops for Hope is a yearly match up with some of the toughest athletes around; local children with down syndrome.

"It's wonderful to get out here with these young people and be able to play this game that we all love,” said Lady Vols Forward Cierra Burdick.

For the dozens of down syndrome children who got to play in this year's event, it was more than just a game.

It was the game of a lifetime, getting to play their favorite sport with their favorite Tennessee Volunteers.

"Some of these young people will touch your heart. I've seen a couple of them brought to tears,” said UT Men's Basketball Head Coach Donnie Tyndall.

"They said they've been looking forward to this all year. That touches me somewhere special,” said Vol Guard Josh Richardson.

The 7th Annual event is all about giving the children a day they will never forget.

The game has just about as much excitement and fanfare as you'd expect at a real UT game.

"When I walked into the gym, it felt like we were getting ready to play Kentucky. The energy and the passion in the gym is unbelievable,” said Coach Tyndall.

The Vols and Lady Vols took the court right alongside them, cheering them on basket after basket.

"If only for that, to see those interactions, it's priceless,” said Trey Sexton, founder of Hoops for Hope.

For the players, it's a chance to give back to some of their biggest, most enthusiastic fans.

"It's an opportunity for them to grow and understand that they are role models. Sometimes they don't always know that or aren't aware of that but when you get in this setting, you can't help but to realize that,” said Tyndall.

"I hope they know that we care. That we genuinely care about them having a good time and we love coming out here just as much as they love coming,” said Burdick.

"She said tomorrow her daughter is going to start planning and preparing for next year and it's hearing things like that that make it all worth it,” said Sexton.

Proceeds from hoops for hope benefit the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee.

For more information, visit the Hoops for Hope website.

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