Center Grove senior asks athletes across the state to assist family of Southport football player

(Photos provided)

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WTHR) - Southport High School senior football player Rashawn Haskins was coming home from a basketball game at his school when he died in a car accident. It happened at the intersection of U.S. 31 and Main Street in Greenwood on the night of December 1.

Now a basketball player at another high school is giving an assist to the Haskins family.

Ben Nicoson is a senior point guard for the Class 4A 8th-ranked Center Grove Trojans, just crowned Johnson County champions Monday night. Last month he heard about the crash that killed Haskins, who was a passenger in a car driven by his girlfriend. Haskins’ sister, Briana, was also in the car and suffered a broken leg. She is doing well in her recovery and has returned to Southport High School.

The Haskins family of nine faces financial struggles on top this tragedy.

"I felt like if I was in that situation, I would definitely want all the help I could get,” said Nicoson. “They were certainly down. I felt like they needed a boost in their joy right now."

So Nicoson talked to his principal and started Hoops for Haskins. With the help of IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox, Nicoson sent a letter to every boys basketball team in the state asking players to donate a dollar each to the Haskins family. Nicoson got the idea from a program called Change for a Dollar at his church, Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood. Each weekend, everyone in attendance in worship services is asked to give $1.00 above their regular giving. That money is given to someone in the community who is nominated with a special need.

Nicoson believed the same challenge given to Indiana high school basketball players could add up, a dollar at a time. He also challenged basketball coaches to ask football coaches and their teams to participate. The letters were delivered by email during winter break.

"He wants to find a way to give back and to leverage his connections to those organizations as a way to make a positive difference in the world,” said Center Grove High School Principal Jeffry Henderson. “You've got to feel great about a kid who wants to do that." Nicoson did not know Haskins well, but competed against him on the basketball court.

"I think they just appreciate each other,” said Southport football coach Brandon Winters. “They appreciate the bond that they have with their teammates. They appreciate the fun that they have going out and being part of their community. So, I think with this situation, Ben probably saw a little bit of himself."

"Jesus speaks about love,” said Nicoson. “Honestly, they were having a really troubled time, so I just felt the best thing I could do was give them love. I felt like donating what little money I had and extending my reach out to more people would just give them a boost in their confidence, a boost in their strength."

Anyone can give to Hoops for Haskins through the Go Fund Me page. Checks should be made out to Hoops for Haskins and mailed to:

Hoops for Haskins
c/o Center Grove High School
2717 S. Morgantown Road
Greenwood, IN 46143

The original deadline for donations to Hoops for Haskins has been extended until February 8th.