BY ANDREAS BUTLER
NFL and NBA legends Larry Little and Shaquille O’Neal headline honorees for the Wilson Inaugural Gala set for Jan. 17 at the Hard Rock Hotel, 918 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach.
Tickets to the black-tie affair are $100. A VIP reception is set for 6 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. followed by the awards dinner at 7 p.m.
Proceeds benefit the Wanda and Janice Wilson Foundation, which provide academic opportunities for deserving high school students through a mentoring and scholarships.
“We’ve been raising money for years, but we decided to do a gala. It all came together. We want to raise money for kids that want to go to school and make an impact rather locally, in Florida, nationally or globally,’’ said Rufus Wilson, CEO of the foundation.
“It doesn’t matter where they want to go to school. It’s about giving back and helping out. We all had someone help us.’’
The foundation was founded in honor of his late mother, Wanda Wilson, who championed the cause of providing opportunities for young people. In 2014, his wife, Janice, died. She was an educator and mentor.
The foundation has partnered with the University of Florida for academic and athletic endowments.
“UF partnered with us in February last year. It’s great that a university of their size wants to be a part of this,” said Wilson.
O’Neal is an NBA Hall of Famer and four-time NBA champion who averaged 35.2 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks over 19 seasons. He is the arguably the most dominant force to play the game.
He played for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns. He is now a television analyst for TNT.
Little is an NFL Hall of Famer who played offensive guard with the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins. He won two Super Bowls with the Dolphins including the 17-0 1972 squad.
He was an All-Conference guard at Bethune-Cookman (1964-67).
Little was head football coach at Bethune-Cookman (19831991) and North Carolina Central (1993-1998). He led the Wildcats to the MEAC title in 1984 and 1988 (shared).
The foundation also will honor Washington Redskins star linebacker Jon Bostic; lobbyist Yolanda Cash Jackson; and Daytona Beach business owner Mike Underwood.
“All these honorees have made an impact on someone’s lives locally, nationally and globally. They are all worthy to be honored,” noted Wilson.
For more information, contact Rufus Wilson at 386-679-1446 or Swayne Parson at 386-882-7422.
Visit the Wanda and Janice Wilson Foundation at thejanetandwandafoundation.com.
B-CU hoops winning
Both Bethune-Cookman University basketball programs opened a three-game home with two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) wins.
The Lady Wildcats are 11-5 overall and 3-1 in the MEAC; the men are 9-9 overall and 3-1 in the MEAC.
On Monday, the Lady Wildcats topped Morgan State 77-65. Danielle Hatcher (19 points), Ashanti Hunt (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Amaya Scott (13 points) paced B-CU.
The men also defeated the Bears 85-78. Clentrell Pope (29 points, 18 rebounds), Malik Maitland (17 points) and Isaiah Bailey (14 points) led B-CU.
Two days earlier, the ladies handled Coppin State 8251. Scott (17 points), Hunt (12 points), Camary Harris (10 points) and Ashley Howell (8 points, 11 rebounds) led for BCU in that game.
The men topped the Eagles 85-80. Bailey (25 points, 10 rebounds), Joe French (20 points), Pope (12 points, 15 rebounds) and Wali Parks (12 points) paced the Wildcats.
Senior forward Clentrell Pope earned MEAC Player of the Week on Tuesday. During those two games, he averaged 20.5 points and 16.5 rebounds.
Next, both squads host North Carolina Central University at the historic Moore Gymnasium on Jan. 18. The women play at 2 p.m. followed by the men at 4 p.m.
For more on B-CU Athletics, go to www.bcuathletics.com.