Former overseas professional and Ohio State Buckeyes legend Scoonie Penn hosted his second annual charity basketball tournament this past weekend to raise money and awareness for the T.O.U.C.H. Foundation.
The non-profit group works to provide mentoring and assistance for the formerly incarcerated.
The tournament paid out $10K to the first place team as well as raising significant funds for T.O.U.C.H.
It included former McDonald's All American Andrew Lavender from Xavier along with former Buckeyes Brian Brown, George Reese and Jason Singleton among other notable overseas pros and ex-college stars.
I enjoyed being down there for the tournament as well as writing the article I published on it at SLAMonline.com on Wednesday. An excerpt of that article is below.
“T.O.U.C.H. stands for Teaching Opportunity Unity by Connecting Hearts. It is a mentorship organization that helps people who are trying to get back into society after being incarcerated,” Penn told SLAMonline when we caught up with him at his Columbus, OH-area tournament. “It’s a difficult adjustment, and an issue that’s prevalent in the communities I’m from. Through the T.O.U.C.H. Hoops Classic, I’m working to help raise money and awareness for that effort.”
For Penn, a college All-American and recent inductee into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame, the challenges of that adjustment are something he’s witnessed firsthand.
“Coming up the way I did, knowing a lot of my family members and people I knew who were in and out of the system, when they came home they didn’t know where to turn,” Penn recalled. “It happens a lot in our community, and I started this tournament to help raise money for T.O.U.C.H. who provides support for people facing those challenges on a daily basis.”
The non-profit organization provides that support just prior to a person’s release from prison and then continues with wide-ranging assistance once they’re home.
Read More at SLAMonline.com: Competing for a second chance at the Scoonie Penn T.O.U.C.H. Hoops Classic