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Auburn women take time out from SEC tournament to visit Hopkins Elementary

Auburn players watch as a second-grade student shoots the ball. (Staff Photo: Katie Morris)

Auburn players watch as a second-grade student shoots the ball. (Staff Photo: Katie Morris)

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Hasina Muhammed, a guard for Auburn, poses with a student after he attempted to shoot a basket. (Staff Photo: Katie Morris)

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Teh Auburn women’s basketball team poses for a group picture with Hopkins Elementary second-grade students. (Special Photo: Cassie Archer)

LILBURN — The second-grade Hopkins Elementary students entered the school gym in full force and could barely contain their excitement as they saw the Auburn women’s basketball team, in town for the SEC tournament at the Gwinnett Arena. The Auburn players and coaches visited the Lilburn school as part of the SEC tournament’s community outreach program.

Once the teachers got students seated and on level four behavior, which is their highest level, the players introduced themselves and told the kids their favorite subject in school. Afterward, the players demonstrated a couple of warm-up drills and then choose a few lucky students to come on the court to learn how to pass and shoot the ball.

“My favorite sport is basketball,” said Dianelys Sanchez, one of the lucky students chosen to play, but she couldn’t choose a favorite player because she said she likes them all.

“We’re so excited to be here,” said Katie Frerking, a Wesleyan graduate who plays guard for Auburn.”It’s a great way to give back to the community.”

Chris Pangle, one of Hopkins Elementary’s physical education teachers, enjoyed seeing the excitement of the children while they interacted with the players.

“To them they are superstars,” said Pangle. “It’s great because this gives kids role models and shows them they can play basketball, do well in school and have a favorite subject.”

The second-graders cheered and high-fived the Auburn players as they left the gym and headed straight to practice in order to prepare for their game on Thursday.