UConn will be making its second straight appearance – fifth overall – in the Jimmy V Classic Monday when it hosts No. 11 Maryland at the XL Center. The charitable event, which helps heighten cancer awareness in honor of the late North Carolina State men’s basketball head coach Jim Valvano, is now in its 11th season.
Maryland will be making its second appearance in the event. But this game will unquestionably have special meaning for Terrapins coach Brenda Frese, whose 4-year-old son, Tyler, continues to battle leukemia.
“It means a lot,’’ Frese said. “Obviously, there was no question when we got the invite that we knew we wanted to play in it. And, obviously, for me personally with my son, Tyler, going through leukemia and with his diagnosis and his treatment I think it just helps us to be able to with a national audience and on TV to bring even more awareness to all the people out there that are battling cancer. And, obviously, our family is one that’s directly impacted, but the fact that we can play a game and bring exposure is really important and we’re just really fortunate to be a part of it.’’
Tyler was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 2 ½-years-old. Frese said at this point he is “doing really well.’’
“He’s got one more year of treatment,’’ Frese said. “He takes chemo and medicine every single day. It’s a three-and-a-half-year treatment that he’s going on with (Johns) Hopkins (Pediatric Oncology Center) up in Baltimore. December of 2013 will be his last day of medicine and then he’s got to go a year and a half after that to be deemed cancer-free. But all signs are great. He’s not showing any cancer at the moment and he’s doing extremely well.’’
You can gain more information about Tyler at his website, the Team Tyler Foundation …
According to UConn spokesman Pat McKenna, there have 9,690 tickets sold for Monday’s game against Maryland. There have been 6,542 sold for Thursday’s game against No. 6 Penn State at Gampel Pavilion.