College hoops player stops national biking trek to hold clinic in South Bend

NOW: College hoops player stops national biking trek to hold clinic in South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Brennan Besser plays for one of the biggest programs in college basketball - the Duke Blue Devils.

But he'll be the first to tell you that he's not a star. He is a walk-on in Durham, but that hasn't diminished his commitment to the work he's doing this summer.

Besser is leading a non-profit campaign called "Walk On America" for which he is biking across the country to raise awareness for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

“The biking afforded us the opportunity to go across the country in the time I have before I have to go back to school," Brennan said, "and still connect with these great people all across the country.”

And on his way from Seattle to New York, Besser stopped in South Bend on Wednesday to hold a hoops clinic.

Upon hearing his story, the LOGAN Center asked if he'd make a stop in Michiana, and the response was an immediate "yes."

Besser held his clinic for dozens of IDD youth and adults at the Hannah and Friends neighborhood gym on the North side of the city, and though it was just a short stop on a larger journey, LOGAN staff knew it could be impactful.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned being in this field," said Joshua Diehl, Ph.D., the LOGAN Chief Program Officer, "it’s not taking for granted small gains and small events that can turn into bigger things. It could open the door to doing more things.”

Besser and one of his college classmates took the participants through several drills, working on skills such as dribbling, passing, and shooting. But still, the main focus was just getting them active and encouraging communication.

“It’s not always easy," Besser said. "The drills we put some of these kids and adults through are challenging. That’s the goal, to inspire progress, perseverance and also to just have a fun time.”

And for the folks with LOGAN, the clinic fit exactly what they hoped to gain for their clients.

“It’s going to touch people all over our community and across the country," said Diehl. "It really fits what we want to do. We not only want to create amazing opportunities, but to advocate for the people with whom work and live daily.”

Besser's biking trek will continue to Fort Wayne before leaving the Hoosier state.

For more information on his journey, visit

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