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October 23, 2013

Rochester College basketball program raises money for ALS

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Pictured is Rochester College men’s basketball player Paris Pereira. The Warriors hosted the inaugural Travis Bass Classic to help raise awareness and money for ALS.

The Rochester College basketball program hosted the inaugural Travis Bass Classic from Oct. 17-20 at Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest High School.

While things went well on the basketball court, as the men’s and women’s teams combined to go 5-1 (3-0 men’s team, 2-1 women’s team), even more important than what the scoreboard read was what the tournament represents.  The tournament is named in honor of Travis Bass, a friend of Rochester College men’s head basketball coach and Athletic Director Klint Pleasant.

The two were teammates on the Abilene Christian University football team in the 1990s. Bass passed away from ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2011.

The sale of tickets, T-shirts and concessions were donated in Bass’ honor to the ALS Association.

Having the opportunity to host a tournament in his friend’s honor meant a lot to Pleasant.

“It means so much to me,” he said following the first game of the tournament Oct. 17. “I was trying not to get emotional, but Travis — I can’t describe how close we were. We were just so close. He meant so much to me. We’ve been (wanting) to do this for him to honor his memory. It was really neat to honor him. His parents were listening on the radio. Love for people to bring some awareness for this disease and donate some money to research.”

Rochester College Sports Information Director Ryan Chipka was pleased with the response to the tournament.

“The Travis Bass Classic was designed to raise awareness for ALS and to raise money, as well,” he said. “I think we are tremendously encouraged, happy and fortunate for the turn out that we had. All four days, especially the games where Rochester played, the turnouts were great. We were able to have an ALS representative from the ALS Association of Michigan — she was out there every single day. It was a tremendous event. Very happy with the way (it) turned out and all the support we received for it.”

At press time, the exact amount raised at the tournament was unknown.

Other programs participating in the tournament were Redeemer University College (Canada), Robert Morris University-Springfield, Henry Ford Community College, St. Clair CC, St. Clair (Canada), and Lambton College (Canada).

Anyone wishing to make a donation can call Ryan Chipka at (248) 218-2167 or email rchipka@rc.edu.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.