School is Cool with Spikes

Nigel Spikes signs the shirt of an Emerson Elementary School student.

Nigel Spikes signs the shirt of an Emerson Elementary School student.

March 12, 2013

TULSA, Okla. - Marshall's Nigel Spikes participated in Conference USA's "School is Cool Pep Rally Presented by Bank of Oklahoma" on Tuesday morning at Emerson Elementary in Tulsa.

Spikes and other C-USA men's and women's basketball players took part in the community service project, which took place in the school's gymnasium.

"They have a big exam coming up," Spikes said. "We just gave them a couple of tips to get ready for it and gave them some reason to look forward to and stay in school."

After introductions and study tips were given, a question-and-answer session took place. Questions such as: "How do you show good sportsmanship? What age did you start to play the game? Do you have to be a certain height?"

Other questions, and some statements, were similar to those from an AT&T commercial.

"What's your favorite boy band?" a girl asked the women standing in front of them. "My uncle played basketball!" a boy exclaimed.

The players then split up to sign autographs, either on the white shirts worn to represent the event, or on students' hands and arms, representing a temporary tattoo. Still the attention was on the height of the men's players, many of which were three times the size of the little ones.

"At least 50 times," the 6-foot-10 Spikes said he was asked how tall he was. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native many times fired back with, "How tall do you think I am?"

"One said 8-foot-10," the Herd center said, "and then someone told me I was 11 feet tall ... So pretty much way off."

All of the elementary schools in the Tulsa area will get to experience at least one game of the C-USA Championship, which begins Wednesday and runs through Saturday. Tickets were donated to those schools by Conference USA's corporate sponsors.

Spikes and the No. 9 seed Thundering Herd men's team face No. 8 seed Tulane on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ET at the BOK Center. The No. 12 seed Marshall women play No. 5 seed UTEP on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. ET at the Tulsa Convention Center.