NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Just hours after returning to Nacogodches the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjack basketball team kept a commitment to Nacogdoches HOPE by serving at its soup kitchen, Jo’s Diner.
"I know you're exhausted," said a volunteer to the team as they entered the food pantry.
“Well we’re happy to be here,” a player responded.
Most had only two hours of sleep if that much. They were still running on adrenaline from a win that fans won’t let them forget.
"I love it. I'm going to be a Lumberjack all my life," said Billy Pleasant, a patron of Jo’s Diner.
Some fans consider the men their family and it shows.
Angela Key received hugs from the same players who delivered season tickets earlier in the year.
“As a long-time 49-year fan of the Lumberjacks, this is just beyond anything,” Key said.
The community service keeps the team grounded. The hands normally around a basketball serving up a three-pointer were today serving Thanksgiving meals for those in need.
Nathan Bain scored the two-pointer at the buzzer on Tuesday night. He and a teammate laughed about trying to get their hands into plastic serving gloves.
“We got some big hands,” they said.
Bain is a star in his teammates’ eyes. but they know he’s among the most humble on the team.
"I appreciate there's no jealousy toward each other. It's been a lot of fun," said Coach Kyle Keller.
They kept their minds on the task at hand. At this hour it was service.
“Coming over here to help these folks, make them have a Thanksgiving that everybody want to be around family and friends, that’s just something important to us,” Bain said.
In between the turkey and the pie, players were constantly on their phones. The coach had 786 texts. Players heard from Dez Bryant, a famous rapper, and pro ballplayers.
This Thanksgiving the Lumberjacks and their fans are thankful for each other.