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Keene State Basketball Players Connect with Keene Middle School Students

Story By:
Will Wrobel | Videographer/Producer

In addition to practice and games, many players on Keene State’s men’s basketball team are helping in the Keene community though a partnership with the City of Keene and the Keene Police Department.

The night of November 5, Keene State juniors Paul Emdin, Lucas Hammel, and coach Ryan Cain met up with a number of Keene Police Department (KPD) officers and 30 Keene Middle School students as part of the Police Athletic League (PAL) to shoot around, run some drills and strengthen the bonds between the students.

The PAL was established in a partnership between KPD and the city as a way for officers to be active role models in the community and keep some of Keene’s youth active and engaged. Many cities have similar programs, and this is a pilot program for the Keene. “Coach Cain asked for volunteers and we thought it would be a great idea—we get to have fun with these kids and shoot around a little bit,” said Hammel. “It always feels good to give back to the community, especially when you know the kids are going to have fun.”

Also in attendance was Meghan Spaulding, a Keene State alumnus and the Recreation Programmer for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Spaulding is responsible for the link between the PAL and Keene State.

“I heard in a meeting that I was attending at Keene State that the men’s basketball team was looking for opportunities to volunteer and this was an avenue that was quick and easy and something I thought was fitting for them. The middle school kids now have the basketball players to look up to,” said Spaulding.

Men’s basketball coach Ryan Cain also attended the event—jumping in to assist in teaching the ins and outs of particular drills and conversing with the younger players. Cain said that the he’s proud of the job his players are doing in the community. “The Keene State players are role models for people around campus as well as in the community. It’s definitely something we take pride in as a team—we want people to be able to look up to our group and only say good things about our guys,” he said. “They do a great job on the basketball court but more importantly from what I’ve seen they’re doing a really good job in the classroom and around the community too. I’ve been proud of their actions and proud of the way they carry themselves.”

While the bond between college and middle school players is created, the existing bond between KSC and KPD is also strengthened. Police Chief Brian Costa, who was also in attendance Thursday evening expressed that he believed that the programs like the PAL is integral in the continued good relations between the city and the college.

“Speaking on behalf of our police department, I’ve never felt a stronger bond with the college administration and the college students than I have this year,” said Costa.

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435