The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Kennedy takes flight home to surprise mother

SMU basketball star Markus Kennedy flew home after the team’s big victory over Memphis to surprise his mother and say goodbye before she leaves on her last tour of military service.

All week, the only thing Kennedy could talk about was beating Memphis Saturday.

After the SMU basketball team dropped a disappointing game on the road at South Florida, Kennedy and his Mustang teammates were focused on bouncing back with a victory over the Tigers at home.

However, as soon as the game was over, Kennedy’s focus quickly shifted with a surprise announcement from his Hall of Fame head coach.

SMU and Larry Brown got in touch with the Kennedy family and figured out a way for Kennedy to fly home and see his mother, Barbara, before her final tour of military service.

Barbara was expected to leave Philadelphia Monday at 6 a.m. for Kuwait for the next
eight months.

It will be her third tour of duty as an Air Force sergeant, but her first one since Kennedy was a little boy.

“I was really upset that I wasn’t going to be able to see her, so it was rough on me,” he said. “It was great to be able to go back and see her before she left. I know she was really surprised because she had no idea I was coming home either. She started crying. I just feel so blessed to have a mom like that and I hope it’s the last time she has to go away.”

Kennedy’s aunt and Coach Brown coordinated the trip for him at the perfect time in the Mustangs’ schedule.

However, SMU had to wait for the NCAA to give Kennedy a waiver that cleared him to fly home on a flight paid for by the school.

“We looked at our schedule and we had nice break between games, so I thought it would be a great opportunity for him and the NCAA allowed us to do that,” Brown said. “People always write bad stuff about the NCAA, but this is amazing. He could have missed practice until Thursday if he needed it. I know this really meant a lot to him and it worked out great.”

Brown asked SMU point guard and good friend of Kennedy, Nic Moore about whether or not he should tell the big man about his trip before or after the
Memphis game.

Moore advised his coach to wait until after the game and Kennedy had his best performance of the season.

He scored 21 points on 10 for 10 shooting and grabbed 15 rebounds in the 15-point victory.

“Markus was so focused on that game that I thought it was better for them to wait until after,” Moore explained. “If they would have told him before, he would have been understandably distracted because he is such a family-orientated guy.”

Kennedy has been playing great lately for the Mustangs and is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds over his last seven games.

He said he works hard everyday on and off the court because his mom sets the example for his whole family.

“My brother, my sister, and I are all really close and my mom is such an important part of our family,” Kennedy explained. “Now, she is going to serve our country. It’s going to be tough, but I am nothing but proud of my mom for doing what she does.”

Kennedy didn’t get back to Dallas until 4 a.m. Tuesday because of a snowstorm in Philadelphia that delayed his flight.

The morning he came back, Kennedy found everyone in the SMU program to say thank you for what they did.

“I really want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart,” Kennedy said. “It means a lot to me to know that people here at SMU care so much about me.”

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