A group of basketball coaches at Jacksonville State University set up their senior starting center with the surprise of his life when they helped to reunite him with his mother for the first time in five years.
The university’s Twitter account posted a video on Tuesday showing Norbertas Giga sitting down with his coaches in a hotel conference room. The coaching staff informed Giga they would be going over film during their meeting, but told him not to mind the cameras around the room—they were just simply documenting everything for their postseason run.
“What did your mom used to tell you about belt whippings? You need them?” Assistant coach Chase Richardson asks Giga in the video, while giving a sly smile. “When’s the last time you had one?”
Giga then puts his head into his hands, reflecting back on the last time his mom gave him a smacking with the belt.
“Oh man…” Giga says. “That was about… eight years ago?”
As he says this, Richardson walks towards the back of the room, stopping just short of a closed door.
“I’m tired of belt-whipping you myself,” the assistant coach says. “So we got the real thing for ya.”
.@norbertasgiga thought he was meeting with the coaches to watch film when he arrived in Evansville for the @OVCSports Tournament. Instead, he got a surprise from someone he hasn’t seen since moving to the United States in 2013. pic.twitter.com/P0NELC0sRT
— JSU Men’s Basketball (@JSU_MBB) February 28, 2018
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Richardson then opens the door to reveal Giga’s mother, whom he hasn’t seen in person since leaving Lithuania for the states in 2013. The two embrace and share tears in the middle of the room, enjoying their reunion that was years in the making.
“A HUGE Thank You to everybody that was involved in this surprise for me. I can’t even explain how much it means and how this moment feels to me,” Giga wrote on Twitter in response to the video, which has more than 48,000 views. “THANK YOU! We are Gamecocks!”
The Jacksonville State Gamecocks’ are currently the No. 4 seed of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, and will face off against Belmont and Murray State to make the NCAA Tournament, according to CBS Sports.
No matter how the tournament turns out, it seems their team is already full of winners, on and off the court.