When Jacksonville State senior big man Norbertas Giga sat down for a mandatory individual film session this week, he figured he was about to get an earful from the Gamecocks coaching staff.
Instead, he got an eyeful of tears.
Jacksonville State head coach Ray Harper coordinated a surprise for Giga, who had not seen his mother since moving to Newark, New Jersey, to attend St. Benedict’s Prep as a high school senior in 2013. When Giga’s mom walked through the door, the 7-footer broke down in tears and embraced her:
.@norbertasgiga thought he was meeting with the coaches to watch film when he arrived in Evansville for the @OVCSports Tournament. Instead, he got a surprise from someone he hasn’t seen since moving to the United States in 2013. pic.twitter.com/P0NELC0sRT
— JSU Men's Basketball (@JSU_MBB) February 28, 2018
Giga’s mother will stay for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament in Evansville, Illinois, where the Gamecocks (20-11) are among the top teams vying for an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
Afterward, Giga thanked everyone who made the moment possible:
A HUGE Thank You to everybody that was involved in this surprise for me. I can’t even explain how much it means and how this moment feels to me. THANK YOU! We are Gamecocks! https://t.co/wvCBb3neyZ
— Norbertas Giga (@norbertasgiga) February 28, 2018
“Think about not seeing your mom for six years, and all of a sudden she’s here for your senior conference tournament,” said Harper, who led the Gamecocks to their first NCAA tourney appearance in 2017. “It means a lot to both of them. I’m just happy that they could be together this week.”
It’s a whole lot more fun than a film session.
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