champions of character

Former Houston Rockets great Robert Reid speaks at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship tip-off banquet at the Grand Ballroom in Kansas City, Missouri on March 15, 2011.

Xavier’s Wanto Joseph greets visitors from the YMCA during a Teaming Up For Character event at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship on March 16, 2011.

Lee University’s Jarel Blocker waits in the tunnel before the game against Columbia at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri on March 16, 2011. Lee defeated Columbia 69-67 to advance to the second round.

Azusa Pacific’s Ashton Roberts signs autographs at a Teaming Up For Character event at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in Kansas City, Missouri on March 17, 2011.

Special Olympians participate in a basketball skills clinic during the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in Kansas City, Missouri on March 20, 2011.

Pikeville’s Cooksey Vance charges into Mountain State’s Doug Wiggins at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in Kansas City, Missouri on March 22, 2011.

Pikeville fans cheer for the Bears against Mountain State at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in Kansas City, Missouri on March 22, 2011.

Mountain State’s Cam Miller pulls down a rebound against Pikeville at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in Kansas City, Missouri on March 22, 2011.

Mountain State’s Tay Spann hides his face after the game against Pikeville at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri on March 22, 2011. Pikeville defeated Mountain State 83-76 to claim the championship.

Pikeville’s Setty Trevor celebrates after the game against Mountain State at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in Kansas City, Missouri on March 22, 2011. Pikeville defeated Mountain State 83-76 to claim the championship.

Since 2008, I have photographed the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship for their marketing department. The NAIA is the athletic association headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri that¬†consists of smaller colleges and universities across the United States. The week begins with a formal banquet, then 32 teams play 31 games in seven days to crown a champion. When the teams are off the court, they spend their time interacting with Kansas City youth through the Teaming Up For Character program or teaching basketball skills to Special Olympians. It is a fun week filled with great basketball and wonderful people and I look forward to it every year.

-scott weaver

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