Chicago State players visit with South Side youth

Photo: Matt Marton-USA Today Sports
Photo: Matt Marton-USA Today Sports
“I was happy to see how excited the kids were to see us because they acted as if we were NBA players,” sophomore Fred Sims Jr. said about speaking with Haley students. (Photo: Matt Marton-USA Today Sports)

Chicago State coach Tracy Dildy has long been an activist helping youth in Chicago’s underprivileged neighborhoods, and now some of his players are getting the bug as well. Last week, four members of the team visited Alex Haley Elementary Academy in the far South Side neighborhood of Roseland about three miles away from the CSU campus.

Freshman Patrick Szpir, sophomore Fred Sims Jr., junior Deionte Simmons and senior Jelani Pruitt spoke to over 100 students, speaking about the work and dedication necessary to be a student-athlete.

“It was a good experience talking to the kids about elementary school, high school and now adjusting to being a college student-athlete,” said Szpir, a Wheeling native. “The community needs role models so that these kids won’t just look at Chicago as a violent place and actually see the good that this city offers.”

Chicago State opens its season Nov. 12 against Illinois Tech.

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