A South Carolina basketball player pointed his camera toward a Virginia Tech Hokie and said, “Show us what you got!”
Justin Robinson smiled and held a dirtied Clorox wipe next to his face. Kory Holden grinned back in approval.
Robinson, a Tech guard, and Holden, a USC guard, will be opponents Sunday, but Saturday they were teammates at the South Carolina Habitat for Humanity ReStore. There, Gamecocks and Hokies organized furniture, cleaned everything from stoves to washing machines and packed the backs of trucks.
It was a service project organized by South Carolina coach Frank Martin and Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams. At 2 p.m. Sunday, they’ll go against one another in the “Hoops 4 Hurricane Relief” exhibition game inside Colonial Life Arena.
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“To work like this for Virginia Tech is really good,” Williams said. “I think it’s even better that Virginia Tech is doing it with South Carolina because their peers see one another and say, ‘Yeah, this is bigger than us.’ ”
Tickets to Sunday’s contest are $10, with all proceeds going to those impacted by recent storms in Texas, South Florida and Puerto Rico.
Williams is a native Texan. Martin is from Miami. Both had their families present Saturday.
“Think about what we’re doing right now,” Martin said. “These kids are going to leave here and want to find out what all this was for. And when they realize how much they’re doing to help others that didn’t have the means to be able to get something done, that’s going to mean more to them five, six, seven years from now than whatever the score of tomorrow’s game is.
“Tomorrow’s score, it’s not like the game doesn’t count, but the reality is all this is a lot greater and more powerful than the score of any game we ever play. I know that’s what he (Williams) stands for, that’s what I stand for.”
Williams and Martin have been scrimmaging against each other for nine years, since Williams was coaching Marquette and Martin was in charge at Kansas State. They first crossed paths when Williams was an assistant at Colorado State and Martin was doing the same at Northeastern. Those two programs played each other in a 2000 tournament.
Seventeen years later, Martin is coming off his first Final Four run and Williams is fresh off leading the Hokies to their first Big Dance in a decade.
“Everyone’s always predicted he’s going to fail,” Martin said of Williams. “Everyone’s always predicted I’m going to fail. But somehow, he’s standing here impacting more people than most guys and I’m still surviving.”
Martin and Williams will be part of Sunday’s SEC Network Plus broadcast.
“I love (Martin),” Williams said. “He’s built on the right things. They’ll write many books about him before his career’s over – and it won’t be because he went to the Final Four. It’ll be about the lives that he changed and the manner in which he changed them.”
Virginia Tech at USC
What: “Hoops 4 Hurricane Relief” exhibition game
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Colonial Life Arena
How much: $10 for general admission
Donate online: https://crowdfunding.giving.sc.edu/project/8207