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School is Cool with Spikes

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.