INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Butler basketball fans might be bummed the team isn’t playing in this weekend’s Final Four, but that doesn’t mean the university isn’t represented.
Former Butler basketball player Chase Stigall is no stranger to Final Four weekends. “The first Final Four was in Indianapolis with our home crowd,” Stigall said. “The second Final Four we were in Houston. Now, I’m in Phoenix, and I have a totally different mindset.”
This week, Stigall isn’t a player, but ambassador. His assignment, talk to the nation’s top players about his former bench mate, Andrew Smith, prior to the skills contest. He’s in Arizona, but he made time to talk to 24-Hour News 8 by webcam and shared his experience.
“The first time I was speaking about Andrew, I got emotional just because I knew the guy, and who he is and what he represented,” Stigall said.
Smith died last January after a battle with cancer. Before he did, he encouraged people to register to donate bone marrow. It’s a commitment Stigall made last year when he donated bone marrow to help a two-year-old.
Now, Stigall is paired with “Be The Match” to get college basketball players committed. “My goal is to continue speaking to people and get every division one athlete signed up,” Stigall said. “That’s going to take a long time. That’s going to take a lot of hours.”
Butler University has its own campaign, Project 44, which aims to get 18,920 people to sign up, and save 44 lives. The reason for the number difference, it takes 430 donors to find one match.
“A year later we’re really proud, and excited about what we’ve created, and the momentum that we’re experiencing right now,” Butler strategic communications advisor, Krissi Edgington said.
So far, 1,200 people signed up. It’s a number the university says could go up thanks to what Stigall is doing. “It just goes to show that the Butler way transcends the bounds of campus,” Edgington
Butler basketball may not playing this weekend, but Stigall said fans still have a lot to be proud of. “No matter where Butler people are at, across the whole United States, across the whole world, Butler people make a difference,” Stigall said.
Stigall won’t leave after Thursday’s three point and slam dunk contest. He’ll stay at the Final Four through the weekend talking about Smith, and Be The Match.