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Actress Quvenzhané Wallis, holding a stuffed bear, visited XU's women's basketball team after practice Thursday

Actress Quvenzhané Wallis, holding a stuffed bear, visited XU's women's basketball team after practice Thursday.

Oscar nominee visits Nuggets, promises return next year
March 7, 2013

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     NEW ORLEANS — Had her calendar been open, Quvenzhané Wallis would have been the honorary coach when Xavier University of Louisiana's women's basketball team played Dillard in the Crosstown Classic at the Convocation Center on Feb. 23. However, another event — the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood — commanded her attention that weekend.
     But Wallis, 9 years old and a best actress nominee for Beasts of the Southern Wild, visited the Gold Nuggets after they concluded their Thursday practice. A resident of Houma, La., Wallis spent about 20 minutes with the team, answering the players' questions and comparing dance moves. Head coach Bo Browder gave her a stuffed bear wearing an XU jersey.
     The actress has an XU connection. One of her second cousins, Melvin Wallis, is in his sixth year at Xavier as an athletics trainer. He helped arrange Quvenzhané's visit.
     Accompanying Quvenzhané were her parents, Venjie and Qulyndreia, and one of her prothers, Vejon. Her father said Quvenzhané has made approximately 50 personal appearances since the release of Beasts of the Southern Wild last year, and more appearances are on the way. This spring, for example, Quvenzhané will visit Japan for the opening of Beasts of the Southern Wild there. It'll be the third foreign country she visits.
     The Gold Nuggets will depart late Sunday for Frankfort, Ky., and the NAIA Division I National Championship, where they'll play Faulkner in the opening round at 10:45 a.m. next Thursday. Associate head coach Darrilyn Broussard promised Quvenzhané that the team will watch Beasts of the Southern Wild during the bus trip.
     Quvenzhané made a promise, too: to join the Gold Nuggets on the bench for a home game next season.


Gulf Coast Athletic Conference

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
The Xavier Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets compete in Division I of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Xavier fields men's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis and track and field and women's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis, track and field and volleyball.

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