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Wizards Star Promotes Education

Former Wizard center Gheorghe Muresan visits "The Mark Bleiweis Memorial 3 on 3" basketball tournament in McLean.

Members of McLean Youth Basketball were wowed by a special guest visitor at last Saturday's 3 on 3 tournament, which was held at Longfellow and Cooper Middle Schools. Former Wizard star, Gheorghe Muresan, dropped by both schools to offer a few words of wisdom and to sign autographs.

"I wish you luck here in the basketball court, but I wish you more luck in school," said the 7'7" Muresan. "That is more important. Basketball is fun, but school is life."

The tournament, sponsored by Bowers Construction Group, was open to all McLean Youth House League teams, and was called "The Mark Bleiweis Memorial 3 on 3" in honor of the late Mark Bleiweis. He had been a coach with the program for many years and died of pancreatic cancer last year.

"The tournament honors what he believed in so strongly — in using sports to teach kids life skills and letting them have fun," said wife Barbara Bleiweis.

Net proceeds from the tournament will go to the Pancreas Cancer Action Network.

In addition to emphasizing the importance of school, Muresan encouraged the league members to recognize that there must always be a balance in life and sports.

"Everybody wants to be a winner — but there is just one winner, so you have to learn to win and lose," said Muresan.

Muresan took a few minutes to answer questions from his audience, and when asked whether it was difficult to find clothes for his tall frame, his answer was met with a loud round of applause.

"It's not that hard, but it's not that easy," said Muresan. "But we live in America, and in America you can find anything."

Muresan was flooded with requests for autographs, and 13-year-old Alyaa Haidari, an eighth-grader at Cooper Middle School, was pleased to get one for herself.

"I love basketball," said Haidari. "I've played it since the first grade. I like how it brings everyone together to play sports and how you get to meet new people."