The Daily Gamecock

Darrin Horn hosts clinic for breast cancer research

USC men's coaches teach female participants basketball skills

Most needed work on their free throws, but the group of mothers, daughters and granddaughters training on the Colonial Life Arena court Saturday morning was among the bravest teams USC has seen.

The event was the fourth-annual Darrin Horn Ladies Clinic, and the $40 fees from the 68 women who registered benefited the Palmetto Health Breast Center’s local cancer research and treatment.

“This is a great opportunity for our program to connect with our fans and reach out to the community, and maybe even more importantly, we’ve got the opportunity to raise awareness and some funds,” Horn said. “It’s also a great opportunity for our team to maybe be reminded a little bit that they’ve got a lot to be thankful for, and it’s a privilege to be here.”

The event began with a “fire up” session by announcer Curtis Wilson, during which the attendees became the very first nonstaff to see the new season’s men’s basketball introduction video.

Wilson awarded raffle prizes — including a baseball signed by coach Ray Tanner, a football helmet signed by Steve Spurrier and 50-yard-line tickets to the sold-out Carolina–Clemson football game. He also tested the attendees’ current basketball knowledge.

“If you get a basket from half court, how many points do you get?” Wilson asked.

The women weren’t stumped, holding up three fingers.

“OK, where does the quarterback stand?” Wilson asked. The attendees laughed.

The women then separated into groups that ran a gauntlet of training from Horn and his men’s basketball team. They learned defense and offense on the court from assistant coaches Neill Berry and Cypheus Bunton. They got to sit down with Carla Horn and her family to learn about life as a coach’s wife. They quizzed players Malik Cooke and Lakeem Jackson in the post-game media room, and they also absorbed strategies from Horn, his son Walker and player Bruce Ellington.

“It’s a great cause,” Ellington said. “In life, you never know what you’re going to get. I’m just happy to be out here.”

Susan Ambrose, 68, of Columbia attended the first two clinics but missed last year’s because she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I was just in the middle of the last part of my treatment, which was radiation,” Ambrose said. “I would have crawled to get here because my life has been saved by breast cancer research, and without that research the probability of my longevity would not be long at all.”

Ambrose was declared cancer-free on Aug. 10. This year, Ambrose brought her granddaughters to the clinic.

“Their likelihood of cancer goes up because I’ve had cancer, so I’m here for them,” Ambrose said.

Other attendees also had breast cancer in their family but had yet to battle it themselves. Leslie Whitehurst, 47, of Lexington said she comes every year partly for that reason.

“Also, I just love basketball,” Whitehurst said.

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