Visiting Herndon, members of George Mason University's men's basketball team are big men on campus — literally.
Guards John Vaughan, Charles Makings and forwards Jesus Urbina and Makan Konate attended McNair Elementary School with head coach Jim Larranaga last week to read to a selected group of fourth- and sixth-grade students.
"It's our belief that all young kids need role models and heroes," said Larranaga. "We tell our kids [the players] that they are role models. They have the opportunity to play and they should give back to the community that supports them."
Towering over the 15 students — all boys — the four players read from a book written by New York Giants running back Tiki Barber and his twin brother Ronde Barber, a cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The players were asked by the school to talk with the selected children about making good decisions, and the importance of doing well in school. If the students follow through on their commitment to make positive choices over the next month they will receive a GMU basketball T-shirt. They also will be able to attend GMU's final game of the season in February, and visit the locker room after the game.
"We want these youngsters to look at our players as role models," said Larranaga. "We want them to see that if they want to achieve success, they can."