UPDATED: 9:00 a.m. ET, Mar. 1, 2022 —
Maryland native and former NCAA basketball player Maurice Creek is not quite home, but he is finally out of Ukraine. Creek took to Twitter last night to announce to the world he had finally made it out of the wartime country and is headed to Romania to hopefully catch a flight to the United States. The former George Washington University hooper has been playing basketball professionally in the Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague since 2019.
Creek’s GoFundMe page doubled overnight as folks flooded to the page trying to do whatever they could to help the young man make it home. Although he is safer than he was a few days ago, he’s not out of the woods just yet. He still needs to get from Romania to the United States, which is a twelve-hour flight.
Maurice Creek never imagined that his love for basketball would one day place him smack-dab in the middle of a war halfway across the world.
The former Indiana Hoosier was stuck in Ukraine amid a Russian invasion that has been escalating by the day. During an interview with 7News, Creek told a reporter that he was terrified and so is his family.
“My mother is crying every day, my father is worried sick, my brothers are calling me nonstop every day,” said Creek in the interview.
According to Creek, he is stranded in his apartment in the city of Mykolaiv. His only place of refuge is an adjacent bomb shelter that he frequents when explosions intensify outside of his apartment. Creek also told 7News that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine is closed and he’s been trying to figure out an exit strategy with his parents and his agent. Creek also says his team is trying to find him a car so he can drive to the border of Moldova, which is about 4 hours away.
Creek has been communicating with this family mostly via text. But, it has been a real struggle for his family.
“He texted me just the other day and the text just said, ‘Mom, I love you,’ and I lost it,” his mother said to 7News. “I’ve been trying to hold it together for him, for his siblings, for my husband, just for everybody. I look at pictures around the house or things that remind me of him and I just find myself breaking down, crying.”
Creek expressed to his basketball team MBC MYKOLAIV that he wanted to leave before the Russian invasion, but they downplayed the conflict. They also threatened to not pay him if he left, so he stayed.
A GoFundMe page has been started by Maurice’s family. They hope to raise enough money to help get him evacuated so they can see him return home safely.
If you would like to donate click here.
The civilian death toll in Ukraine continues to rise every day. According to Reuters, at least 102 people have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine last week. Over 300 people have been injured. Many fear both the death and injury toll will be “considerably higher,” as the conflict escalates.
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