Russian 7DAYS EuroCup team UNICS Kazan has dedicated its One Team program this season to a collaboration with Raifa, a special educational college in Kazan that helps teenage orphans to participate in sport and develop their social skills.
One Team is Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility, with all 40 clubs in this season’s EuroCup and EuroLeague running local activities to support vulnerable people in their local communities throughout the season.
The program at UNICS – which progressed to the EuroCup quarter-finals – is taking place over the course of ten weeks, running two-hour sessions with a group of 14 boys aged between 11-16, introducing them to basketball and developing key life skills such as effective communication, confidence building, teamwork, effective decision-making and leadership.
The activities have been strongly supported by three of the team’s senior players – Vladislav Trushkin, Anton Ponkrashov and Trent Lockett – who have attended several sessions and spent time with the young boys in their roles as One Team Ambassadors.
And the efforts of the club to make a genuine difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people has made a big impression on the UNICS stars, with Russian international forward Trushkin saying: “We managed to establish a dialogue. It wasn’t just the players talking, but also the young guys themselves.
"We learned about their lives, and how sports training can give them a lot of new things. It is very inspiring to have the opportunity to transfer the knowledge we have gained from our lives in basketball. We try to be good mentors for these young guys."
American guard Lockett added: "If you work hard, basketball will certainly show you how you can succeed in life. Work hard, make more shots and then you will do well. The same is true in life and we wanted to express this message to the guys."
One Team, supported by Turkish Airlines as the One Team Founding Patron and with the collaboration of Special Olympics as Proud Partner, uses basketball to achieve meaningful social impact in our communities across Europe and is supported by every club in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team program has already helped more than 14,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.