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WATCH: Utah Jazz surprise first scholarship recipients in heartwarming video calls

The Utah Jazz surprised some of their scholarship recipients with Facetime calls sharing the news. Screen grab from Utah Jazz Tweet.

SALT LAKE CITY — One of the recipients of a new full-ride scholarship from the Utah Jazz says it will change his life.

The Jazz are awarding one scholarship for every win to a student from a minority or under-represented group. They’ve had 55 wins so far in the regular and preseason, with the chance for more in the post season. They’ve selected 30 students so far who may have otherwise not had the opportunity to go to college.

On Wednesday, the team shared video of players telling some of those students about it. 

The video shows Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Mike Conley, Royce O’Neale, Jordan Clarkson, Derrick Favors, and Georges Niang Face-timing the students with the good news.

One of those students is Makuei Laeth.

Laeth told KSL TV getting the call from one of his favorite players Jordan Clarkson, shocked him. But learning he won a four year full-ride scholarship was an even bigger surprise.

“I just got to thank God,” he said.

Jazz scholarship puts college in reach for Sudanese student

He came from the Sudan to live with his brother’s family.

“What brought me to Utah was basketball, getting the chance to play at Juan Diego,” he said.

Besides playing sports, he has been working several jobs, including at a Jazz team store.

Now he will be the first person in his family to go to college.

The Utah System of Higher Education says there is a gap between the number of students from ethnically diverse groups in Utah high schools and the number of those students who go on to post-secondary education. So this program tries to help close that gap.

NBA.com says Hundreds of students applied for the scholarship, and the nonprofit organization 10,000 Degrees selected the winners.

Of the first 30 Utah Jazz Scholarship recipients:

  • 100 percent demonstrated financial need
  • 90 percent will be first-generation college students
  • 53 percent are women
  • 47 percent are men

The scholarship recipients have all been accepted by one of six Utah universities:

  • Brigham Young University
  • Southern Utah University
  • University of Utah
  • Utah State University
  • Weber State University
  • Utah Valley University

Read more: Utah Jazz allowing more fans for the playoffs, but masks are still required

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