GENESEO, N.Y. – SUNY Geneseo senior Lea Sobieraski was named a member of the 2015 Allstate Good Works team, sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association of America (WBCA). The prestigious award recognizes a distinguished group of student-athletes who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment community service.
A total of 251 players (158 men, 93 women) were nominated. Two 10-member teams (one men's, one women's) comprised of five student-athletes from NCAA Division I and five from NCAA Division II, III and NAIA were selected.
Sobieraski is actively involved with Upstate New York Transplant Services (UNYTS). Born with a rare liver condition called Wilson's Disease, she nearly lost her life during her junior year before receiving a liver transplant in March of 2013. Throughout her entire ordeal, she was not only determined to return to school and the basketball team, but also made it a priority to utilize her experience to promote organ and tissue donation as well as the importance of donating blood throughout Western New York.
Members of the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team will be recognized during the 2015 WBCA Convention and at the 2015 NCAA Women's Final Four in Tampa Bay, and will also participate in a local community project. Allstate is an official corporate partner of the NABC, WBCA and NCAA.
Sobieraski has gone back to her high school alma mater in Lockport (N.Y.) numerous times to speak about her experience and get teachers/staff/students involved with blood donation as well as organ donation. She helped coordinate a UNYTS-sponsored blood drive among Western New York high school football teams in conjunction with the Buffalo Bills, and was a guest speaker at a blood drive sponsored by the Buffalo Sabres where she talked about her experience and personally thanked all those that donated. (Her grandfather is the late Ted Darling, the long-time television voice of the Buffalo Sabres). She is also currently working with the Rochester UNYTS to be a part of their drives and events in the coming months.
A business administration major, she started taking classes again in the spring of 2014 and was cleared to begin working out and playing basketball last summer. Fully recovered from her operation, she rejoined the team in the fall and is currently averaging 3.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 16.5 minutes per game for the Knights, which are in first place in the latest State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) standings. Through it all, she is also the owner of a 3.06 grade point average and is on course to graduate in May.
Former Duke student-athlete, two-time NCAA champion and seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill headlined the Allstate NABC Good Works Team voting panel, while WNBA basketball star Tamika Catchings, who played at Tennessee, served on the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team panel. In addition to Hill and Catchings, the selection panel members include: former college basketball student-athletes Greg Anthony (UNLV), Mateen Cleaves (Michigan State) and Alana Beard (Duke); former head coaches Bobby Cremins (College of Charleston), Seth Greenberg (Virginia Tech), Marsha Sharp (Texas Tech) and Nell Fortner (Auburn); current college basketball coach Coquese Washington (Penn State); and media members Seth Davis (Sports Illustrated/CBS), Dana O'Neil (ESPN), Carolyn Peck (ESPN) and LaChina Robinson (ESPN/FOX).
Since 2008, Allstate has worked with the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) as sponsor of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which shines a spotlight on the positive, off-the-field impact college football student-athletes have on their communities. Through an arrangement with the AFCA, NABC and WBCA, Allstate has been able to expand the Good Works Team to also recognize college basketball student-athletes at all levels who donate their time and effort to make a difference off the court.