On Thursday 20 outstanding basketball players will arrive to prepare for the 44th annual Faith 7 Basketball Bowl. This charity event benefits the Faith 7 Activity Center which provides on-the-job training and life skills to the developmentally disabled in the Shawnee area. In addition, the money raised from the Faith 7 Bowl allows the Activity Center to send participants to the Special Olympics and other beneficial activities.


On Thursday 20 outstanding basketball players will arrive to prepare for the 44th annual Faith 7 Basketball Bowl. This charity event benefits the Faith 7 Activity Center which provides on-the-job training and life skills to the developmentally disabled in the Shawnee area. In addition, the money raised from the Faith 7 Bowl allows the Activity Center to send participants to the Special Olympics and other beneficial activities.
Last year’s spectacular included Willie Warren from North Crowley, Texas, who set the all-time points record for Texas with 4, and started for the Sooners, and Keiton Page from Pawnee, who set the all-time points for Oklahoma with 37 and started for the Cowboys. In addition, Rotnei Clarke from Verdigris scored 29 points and started for the Razorbacks.
This year’s game will highlight two future Sooners and two future Cowboys along with great supporting casts.
Representing the Sooners will be Tommy Mason Griffin from Houston Madison High School and Kyle Hardrick from Putnam City. Tommy is a McDonald’s All-American and Kyle led the Pirates to the 6A state title while shooting 60 percent from the field. Representing the Cowboys will be two Duncanville, Texas, standouts, Roger Franklin and Reger Dowell. Roger shot 67 percent from the field and Reger dished out seven assists per game for the perennial powerhouse Panthers.
Texas’ supporting cast includes future Texas Tech Red Raider Aaron Davis; Javier Carter, bound for South Alabama and holder of his school’s single-game scoring record (46) and rebounds (27); and Nick Russell, future Wildcat at Kansas State. The Texans will also be represented by Derek Johnson, son of former OBU head coach, Darrel Johnson.  Derek will play collegiately at the University of Evansville.
Daniel Orton heads up Oklahoma’s supporting cast. Orton will play for the Kentucky Wildcats after leading Bishop McGuinness to three 4A state championships. Matt Qualls of Tahlequah holds records for career rebounds (1,291) and 18 straight field goals. Donte’ Foster of Guthrie is the 5A Player of the Year and led the Bluejays to two consecutive state titles. Josh Davis of Star Spencer is the 4A Player of the Year and led the Bobcats to the 2009 state championship. Lane Adams of Red Oak is the fifth all-time leading scorer in the state and led the Eagles to the Class B state title.
The Ambassador Club of the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce will sposnor Thursday night’s meal at the Noble Complex which provides the players and coaches a first glimpse of the reason for the Faith 7 Bowl - the clients of the Faith 7 Activity Center. After eating together, the players and clients shoot baskets and have their pictures taken together - always a highlight of Faith 7 week for the clients. Further interaction among the players and clients occurs on Friday evening when parents of the clients host a home-cooked meal for the teams at the Masonic Temple.
The Shawnee community is to be congratulated because an event of this nature does not endure for 44 years without individuals, civic clubs, churches and businesses contributing their time and financial support to make Faith 7 a continued success. Meals are being provided by ARAMARK, Liberty Baptist Church Cafeteria, First Christian Church, BancFirst, Taco Bell and Sonic. St. Gregory’s University is providing the housing and one of the practice sites. Oklahoma Baptist University provides a practice site and hosts the game.
Chele Marker, graphic artist at OBU, donates her services for the Faith 7 game program. Movies 6 hosts the teams on Friday night. Shawnee Trophy Company donates the trophy for the slam dunk contest. Civic clubs - Cartwright BPW, Shawnee BPW, Lions Club, Kiwanis, Rotary, and Jr. Service League - “work” the game in the concession stand, sell programs and man the ticket booth. This is in addition to a yearly monetary donation to help cover costs. ARAMARK donates the concession net proceeds to Faith 7.
You can support this worthwhile charity event by coming to watch the best basketball players from Texas and Oklahoma, purchasing a program and buying concessions. We depend upon the “gate” to pay travel expenses, player plaques, player T-shirts, insurance, program printing, game officials, coaches honorariums, and postage and phone bills. 
See you Saturday, June 6, at 7:30 at the Noble Complex ... and don’t miss the slam dunk contest at 7 p.m.