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Friday, April 19, 2024
Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard and the rest of UW's men's basketball team teamed up with students to raise more than $20,000 for cancer research Monday afternoon.

Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard and the rest of UW's men's basketball team teamed up with students to raise more than $20,000 for cancer research Monday afternoon.

Men’s basketball team, students aim to shoot down cancer

Hundreds of students stepped onto the Kohl Center floor for the fifth annual “Shooting Down Cancer” Monday in an event that brought together the Wisconsin basketball program and its student body.

While the event was fun for everyone involved, for head coach Greg Gard and his team it’s a way to impact current cancer patients and future cancer research.

This is Gard’s first year leading the event; he took the reins from former Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, who retired last December. While the event allows Gard to interact with the Wisconsin fanbase, in the wake of his father’s death last October it’s especially meaningful.

“It’s still our chance to interact with the students, our chance to say thank you for what they’ve done after the season ticket sell out and for the support they give,” Gard said. “But, more importantly, it’s a chance for us to raise awareness for the fight against cancer.”

The premise of the event was simple: Show up at the Kohl Center and take a free throw and a half-court shot to take money out of Gard’s wallet. For every UW-Madison student that simply walked into the Kohl Center, Gard donated $1 to Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society. He also donated $5 for every free throw made and $500 for each successful half-court shot.

Assistant coach Howard Moore experienced “Shooting Down Cancer” for the first time Monday and while he enjoyed interacting with the UW-Madison fanbase, he too recognizes the importance of the event.

“We all feel that the cure from cancer is gonna come from the University of Wisconsin,” Moore said. “Bo Ryan said that for years. I firmly believe that and I think the cure’s gonna come from Madison no doubt about it. That’s just the Badger in me.”

For many, making either shot, free throw or half-court, is an athletic feat. But sophomore Charlie Thomas made light of the difficulty of the task.

“Great form and confidence, that’s all you really need,” Thomas said. “You don’t have to be playing basketball all your life. You just have to know that you’re going to make the shot.”

Whether a student drains a free throw, half-court or merely shows up, their participation in the event is going a long way to impact an important cause.

“There’s a lot of ways that someone can raise awareness,” Gard said. “And any funds that we donate tonight obviously are going to a good cause.”

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