‘I had absolutely no idea’: High school basketball team comes together, surprises senior with new kicks

Student athletes support teammate

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Practice goes on for student athletes even though most schools are not in session during the holidays. On Tuesday, things were business-as-usual for a Walnut Hills High School basketball player -- until they weren’t.

“I saw him at practice and I realized he didn’t necessarily have a good pair of basketball shoes and it had been like that for like the past week or two," said freshman Walnut Hills High School basketball player Max Poynter. “So I texted the team and I was like, ‘Guys, I think we should get together, raise some money and get David a nice pair of basketball shoes.’”

It was an idea, Poynter says, that the entire team was on board with.

“I had absolutely no idea, like seriously,” said senior David Akanbi.

It wasn’t until after practice on Tuesday that Akanbi got a special delivery.

“They brought me a bag -- a foot locker bag -- and some shoes," Akanbi said. "I was like, I don’t know what to do -- it was just pure excitement on my face.”

Not a single coach knew this gesture was in the works. If you ask them, they’ll tell you the whole thing is about much more than hoops.

“We preach character all the time, but to see it in action it was just unbelievable," said Walnut Hills High School Head Basketball Coach Ricardo Hill.

Junior Michael Grant said Akanbi inspires those around him.

“He knows he’s not going to play, but he comes in and works hard every day and provides us good energy and all that,” said Grant. “So we just thought why not provide him with something nice.”

Akanbi was sporting his new shoes on the court Wednesday, still in shock about the surprise his teammates pulled off.

“I was like -- did they really get this for me?"Akanbi said. "I felt like I didn’t deserve it but you know they came out for me and they helped me a lot.”

Akanbi said the shoes feel nice.

“Once I put them on, I felt like I can do anything,” he said.

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