Sophomore Jackson Schultz walked into the UMKC gym to see Iowa State player George Niang and Oklahoma University player Buddy Hield practicing with their teams. It was the day before the two teams played each other in the Big 12 Tournament and the players had been doing some drills on opposing ends of the gym. Schultz spent that afternoon watching them and talking to them about the upcoming tournament.
This all began when Schultz was pulled out of class earlier that day by his dad. He wasn’t sure what the reasoning was, and was confused as to where he would be going. Little did he know, his dad had scored him a front row seat to a behind-the-scenes practice with two of his favorite teams.
While there, Schultz watched the teams practice and even got to interview some of the players before their practice began.
“When I first saw them I felt like I was surrounded by giants,” Schultz said, “Even the smaller players like Isaiah Cousins were a lot taller than me.”
Interviewing players was one of Schultz’s highlights from the experience. His father didn’t expect Jackson to go talk to the athletes, but Schultz had no problem approaching the players and asking them a few questions. They were happy to oblige.
“I think the interview was more impromptu than anything else,” his sister, senior Kylie Schultz said. “It was just him trying to impersonate TV reporters after the game.”
Above everything, Schultz remembered being able to meet and fist bump Buddy Hield, one of his favorite players. He was amazed that his dad was able to get him such an opportunity, and is hopeful that he will be able to go again next year.
“Meeting Buddy Hield and George Niang and all the other players was such a cool experience,” Schultz said, “I hope next year when the Big 12 Tournament comes I can do it again.”
Interview filmed by Jackson Schultz