SMU center Markus Kennedy had a breakthrough performance against No. 22 Memphis on Saturday, notching a career-best 21 points on 10-for-10 shooting and 15 rebounds in the Mustangs' upset of the Tigers.
And then his day got really wild.
After SMU's win, school staff told Kennedy they had booked him a trip to Philadelphia so he could see his mom, Barbara, an Air Force sergeant, one last time before she shipped off to Kuwait for an eight-month deployment.
“We weren’t expecting to see each other before she left,” Kennedy told NBCSports.com. “That was kind of rough on me."
SMU had to get special permission to pay for Kennedy's flight, and upon hearing he'd be heading back to Philadelphia, Kennedy left in a hurry.
“They surprised me after the game,” Kennedy said. “They told me I had a ticket to go home. That’s all I needed to know. Rushed in the shower, got my clothes, and I was on the way to the airport. I didn’t ask any questions, I just said thank you to who I had to say thank you to.”
Once Kennedy got home, his aunt had an elaborate set-up meant to create the ultimate surprise. Check it out:
Later, Kennedy posted this photo on his Instagram page with the following caption:
"I really want to thank the NCAA and the whole SMU family for allowing me to see my mom before she leaves on Monday. I can't express this feeling thank you"
Kennedy is a redshirt sophomore who is averaging 24.3 minutes and 12 points this season for the upstart Mustangs.