NC State basketball coach Kevin Keatts had a message for his players before the team dispursed for a three-day Christmas break at home with their families.
It's a meaningful sentiment that captures the true spirit of the season. He shared it to members of the media at his postgame press conference following Sunday's win against The Citadel and urged everyone to take it to heart.
"Somehow through Christmas we have made it about the nice gifts that we get and I’m sure that we all love to receive gifts," Keatts said. "I love to put a smile on someone's face as with giving gifts.
"(But) I told our guys and I hope you guys do some of the same things over the Christmas holiday: Take some time to go see someone who has made a difference in your life. It could be your auntie, your father, your mother or it could be the lady down the street who saw you grow up. That’s important to me because somehow we lose focus on how we got here and who we are.
"So I hope you guys would take the same message. Hug your wife and kiss your kids. I told our guys all their friends would be at home, but spend a little time putting a smile on someone else’s face because you never know what they are going through."
Keatts and his players went their separate ways after Sunday's game. They will return to practice on Thursday to prepare for a game three days later at home against Appalachian State.
It's a break that will give point guard Markell Johnson and his teammates a chance to rest and recharge for the bulk of the ACC schedule that will begin after the start of the new year.
"(I'll) just chill with my family and get back home, get some time with them, then get in the gym and get some shots up," said Johnson, a senior from Cleveland. "(I'm) looking forward to the time off."
Keatts is spending the holiday in his hometown of Lynchburg, Va., practicing what he preaches while visiting his parents and others special to him during his formative years.
"I'm going to go and spend some time with my mom and dad," he said, "and some people in the community that watched me grow up and see me on TV and I haven't had a chance to spend a little time with them."