SportsHigh School Sports


UL basketball player uses NIL to give back to alma mater

Cajuns' Joe Charles, creates "Pay It Forward" grant
Posted at 8:16 PM, Feb 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-14 21:16:51-05

CARENCRO — "The bond has never been greater between Louisiana forward, Joe Charles, and his alma mater of Carencro.

"You know whether it be just coming through for practice, or coming to the games, it's something that we preach and it's great to see them living it out", says head basketball coach Christopher Kovatch.

Charles wanted to give back to a community that's given so much to him, proving that "Carencro Joe" is more than just a nickname.

"I like giving back to the people that helped me, so every chance I get, I'll go back", says Charles. "I get to watch their games, go to practice, help them in practice and talk to them, give them some leadership."

Before the season, Charles started his own scholarship, the "Pay It Forward" grant. Using his name, image and likeness money, Charles sponsored Carencro senior D'mari Francis. A slam dunk choice, Charles wanted to award a senior who displays hard work, core values and strong character.

"Coach called me and said Joseph decided he wants to pay for my fees and the next day he came, we took a picture", says Francis. "It was really nice and I thanked him for it."

The grant covered everything from basketball fees to team swag. With Francis being a three-sport athlete and graduating senior, it helped lighten the load of expenses.

"What a great thing for mom and dad because D'mari is the oldest of a few kids and so what a great blessing that is for someone to use their platform like Joe to help out D'mari."

Considering the two played together just two years ago, this grant is more than a financial assist. It also cements his role as a friend and mentor.

"I looked at him as one of my little bros to where if he needed something he could reach out to me, if I need something I can reach out to him. That made me feel proud."

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Subscribe to our Youtube channel