OGDEN — A few dozen fans shuffled through Weber State Downtown on Friday night to meet WSU men’s basketball players during a new meet and greet event held in the downtown bookstore.

The players lined a long table at the back of the store, signing their autographs on posters, T-shirts and hats for the mostly young fans who came to meet them as the 2019-20 season approaches.

Jeff Furton, who co-founded Daily Rise Coffee with his wife, Beth, hatched the idea for the event. His shop operates in part of the first-floor space in WSU Downtown at 2314 Washington Blvd.

“When we got an opportunity to open a shop down here and build a partnership with Weber State, it really made sense to help bridge the gap between the city and the university. I think athletics is a good way to do that,” Furton said. “So if we have an opportunity where we can invite the youth of Ogden here to meet the athletes and get autographs, that’s a really cool thing. It can keep them motivated to stay active, play ball and go watch some ballgames.”

A few youngsters tried their hand at scoring against WSU players on mini hoops hung from support poles near the signing table. Turnout was small but the format was casual and seemed to make for good interaction.

In its first rendition, Furton said he hopes to grow interest in the event in the coming years. WSU shared info about it on social media and some basketball players in Ogden City Recreation received flyers for it last week.

And, Furton wants to expand the effort to connect the community to all Weber State athletic teams.

“I would love to see all the Weber State athletic teams come down here and have the youth of the area come down and meet the players. Women’s soccer, women’s basketball, softball, I want to see everybody down here. It could be great,” he said.

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @bhein3/@WeberHQ and at facebook.com/WeberStateSports.

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