Several KU hoops legends returning for 15th annual Roundball Classic
Devonte’ Graham, Udoka Azubuike, Wayne Selden, Tyshawn Taylor and a host of other Kansas basketball greats will be in town next month for the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic, the annual charity event that raises money for kids fighting pediatric cancer.
The Roundball Classic, now in its 15th year is scheduled for June 8-10. It tips off with a charity basketball game featuring notable former Jayhawks at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 8. A special gala dinner will follow at 6 p.m. Friday, June 9, at KU’s Burge Union, and the weekend wraps up with a bowling event at Royal Crest Lanes at noon on Saturday, June 10.
Last year, the Roundball Classic surpassed a major milestone — more than $1 million raised in total since the event’s inception in 2009. According to its website, it’s raised $1,042,000 in total and has helped more than 40 families.
“If you would’ve told me we do it for 15 straight years, I probably wouldn’t have believed it,” said Brian Hanni, the broadcaster who organizes the event. “It’s been an event that has been a blessing on so many levels, and I’ve had the chance to meet and get to collaborate with some of the greatest people on the planet this last decade and a half of working together to help these children.”
The list of former KU hoops stars who will take the floor at Free State High School on June 8 includes Graham, Azubuike, Selden, Taylor, Cole Aldrich, Svi Mykhailiuk, Sherron Collins, Brady Morningstar and more. And it’s not just basketball players who will be getting in on the action: Former KU football players Brandon McAnderson and Derek Fine are slated to participate, as well.
The event typically names its “starting five” — the five children who will benefit from the funds raised. But this year’s list has six — Hayden Ballou, Isamel Vargas, Raven Hays, Lilly Bolton, Nolan Anderson and Hunter Brown.
“We’re excited to make some real impacts and raise life-changing dollars for these families,” Hanni said.
This year’s event will also introduce a “benevolence fund” that will provide support to children from September through May to keep the Roundball Classic’s impact going year-round. Hanni said people who donate could win the chance to attend a KU game with a former player.
“All of that is made possible by the generosity of KU fans, the passion within this fan base, but also these players and coaches that give their time and talents,” Hanni said.
Tickets for all three events — the Roundball Classic, the gala dinner and Rock Chalk Roundbowl — are available at 23rd Street Brewery, Jefferson’s and Johnny’s Tavern. Fans can also purchase tickets online and learn more about Hanni’s charity at rockchalkroundballclassic.com.