By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
One surefire way to fill up Rock Staubus Gymnasium is to have a basketball game between the Clovis Wildcats and the Hobbs Eagles.
Charity organizers seek a similar audience Saturday when a different Eagles squad comes into town — the Philadelphia Eagles, led by Clovis native Hank Baskett III.
The 7 p.m. game will feature Clovis High School alumni competing against Baskett and a group of Philadelphia players who normally play charity games in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.
Tickets for the game are $12 for adults and $6 for children and are available at the CHS athletic office. Proceeds from the game, prize raffles and a silent auction will benefit CHS and the Oasis Children’s Advocacy Center.
Hank Baskett Jr., the receiver’s father and executive director of Oasis, said the most simliar thing he remembers in Clovis is a charity game featuring Dallas Cowboys players about two decades ago, but this means more locally.
“This is a first of this magnitude,” he said. “Clovis has one of their own that’s going to be out there helping organize this.”
Eagles listed to join the younger Baskett include Quinten Mikell, Todd Herremans, Greg Lewis, Sheldon Brown, Tra Thomas and Jon Dorenbos. But Clovis Athletic Director Brian Stacy said he is hearing other players may take part or make appearances.
Clovis players include Bryce Hill and Layne Strebeck of the 2008 Class 5A state runnerup Wildcats squad and Lee K. Howard, a teammate of Baskett’s on the 2001 state runnerup squad.
“It will be different to see Hank on the opposing team, but I think we can compete,” said Howard, who now covers sports for NBC affiliate KAMR in Amarillo. “Hopefully, we don’t get blown out and we’re able to go out there and compete, and most of all have a good time.”
In the offseason before his third year as an Eagles wide receiver, Baskett put in some work to bring the charity team out of its tri-state area and to his hometown.
“Hank basically wanted to try to do something for the school,” Stacy said. “What we did was incorporate it with the same time they’re doing their golf tournament.”
The Tee’d Off About Child Abuse golf tournament, heading into its second run under the youngest Baskett, will be Saturday at Whispering Winds Course (Cannon Air Force Base) and Sunday at Chaparral Country Club.
The original idea was to do the game Friday night before the golf tournament, Stacy said, but the Wildcat Relays track meet created a conflict.
Stacy said he was first concerned about the ticket prices, because the school usually charges roughly $5 for any type of ticket, but he said the price was more than fair considering there would be a post-game autograph and photo session, plus prizes like a two-day stay in Treasure Island in Las Vegas and a football signed by George Lopez, rock band Nickelback and others.
“The businesses come through,” said the elder Baskett. “I take my hat off to the businesses in Clovis. I’ve never had any problem with support.”