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SMU player flies home to surprise mom before eight-month deployment

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SMU forward Markus Kennedy (USATSI)

The NCAA is often criticized for what it doesn't allow student-athletes to do, but it got one right when it allowed SMU to fly forward Markus Kennedy home to Philadelphia last week to see his mother before she left on an eight-month military deployment.

Barbara Kennedy will serve the next eight months in Kuwait. She is a sergeant in the Air Force and being deployed overseas away from her family is nothing new. She has previously served in Germany and South Korea.

"I had no clue I was coming home," Markus Kennedy told Fox Sports Southwest. "We hadn't expected to see each other before she left, and that was kind of rough on me. Now that I got to see her, it's definitely a great feeling."

SMU coach Larry Brown debated whether to tell Kennedy he was going home before or after the Mustangs played Memphis last week. After talking with guard Nic Moore, Brown opted to wait. It turned out to be a wise decision. Without any possible distractions on his mind, Kennedy, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, scored 21 points with 15 rebounds in a victory.

Check out the video of their reunion below.

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