A series of games and activities this weekend in and around Kentucky School for the Deaf is one of the largest local fundraisers for a basketball team planning to compete this summer in the Deaf Olympics.
The Derby weekend event features basketball, cornhole, poker and darts tournaments, with proceeds going to the USA Deaf Basketball team.
A former KSD star is the team director, another is expected to play for the team, and KSD boys coach Mike Yance is an assistant coach and the team’s fundraising coordinator.
Yance said USA Deaf Basketball’s goal is to raise $10,000, and he said the organization would like to get a large part of that this weekend.
“We’re hoping to raise $5,000 this weekend. That would be wonderful,” Yance said.
Here is a list of the weekend’s activities, all of which are open to the public:
n A 3-on-3 basketball tournament beginning at 2 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday at KSD’s Thomas Hall. The entry fee for teams is $30, and spectator admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children.
n A cornhole tournament at 11 a.m. Saturday at Thomas Hall. The entry fee is $10 per two-person team.
n A social event at 3 p.m. at American Legion Boyle Post 46, 45 Spears Lane, which includes a poker tournament ($30 buy-in, $10 re-buy), a darts tournaments ($10), Kentucky Derby-related betting, a silent auction and raffle and food and drinks.
Yance said a large turnout is expected from the deaf community, including some people from neighboring states.
“And we’ve really worked hard, with several different committees coming together,” he said. “We’re hoping a lot of people will come out.”
The USADB qualified for the Deaf Olympics, which will be held Jul 26-Aug. 4 in Sofia, Bulgaria, by finishing a close second in the Deaf Pan American Games in Brazil in March. The team lost to Venezuela by two points in the championship game.
Yance said he thinks the team has a shot at a medal in Sofia, but he said the program’s fundraising efforts have an effect on which players are able to make the trip. USA Basketball, with which USADB is affiliated, provides uniforms and shoes for the team, but USADB and the participating athletes are responsible for the remaining expenses, including travel costs.
Former KSD standout David Hamilton is the team director.
“It’s fun being with him again,” Yance said.
The roster is expected to include another former KSD star, Sekoe White, who concluded a successful playing career at Gallaudet University in 2009, as well as Brandon McMillan, the son of KSD outreach director Wilton McMillan, who set a conference single-game scoring record with 46 points in his senior day game in 2012 and played on a USADB under-21 team that won a gold medal a couple of years ago.
Yance is one of three assistant coaches, and he said he’s looking forward to his first Deaf Olympics experience.
“It’s going to be a wonderful experience for me, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the different deaf cultures.
“And we hope to get a medal — gold, of course.”
The team will meet in Maryland in July for a few days before traveling to Sofia. Yance said it will be a group of skilled players, much farther advanced than the high school teams he coaches.
“They know what to do. They’re highly skilled,” he said. “Here you’re dealing with more teaching, because they’ve not had a lot of experience in the past.”
KSD weekend fundraiser supports U.S. basketball team's trip to Deaf Olympics
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