Mormon, Anchorage native basketball star to play BYU, talks of how sport increased his faith

By Ryan Comer

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Nov. 2 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

“I’ve seen all seven of my kids play on occasion better than they can play. I’ve seen them all produce something they did not have the capacity to produce on their own. That’s why (basketball) is a big deal to us,” Richard said. “As you try to do something that is really hard to do, and especially if it’s beyond your capacity, and you get help from above, that’s a skill that’s universal. Has nothing to do with basketball. It shows up in all endeavors in life by all people in life who dream, work as if everything depends on them, and pray as if everything depends on the Lord. It’s a life skill.”

As for former BYU star, Behka believes having basketball in her life has strengthened her faith.

“You get to a point where you can’t do much more on your own,” Behka said. “You have to ask for help. You have to get power you can’t produce. It definitely improved our faith and our reliance on our Father in Heaven. We all believed he helped us do things beyond our own personal power.”

As the time for tipoff draws closer, Behka is excited for the opportunity to see her brother play but also admits to feeling a little conflicted, given her own history at BYU.

“It’s really exciting to me that one of my siblings is playing on the Marriott Center floor,” Behka said. “I have such great memories there. It feels wrong to cheer against my brother or against BYU, so that’s the hard part. I’m just hoping it’s a good game. Both teams play well, and I can cheer for everyone.”

Alaska Anchorage and BYU tip off at 7 p.m. MDT, and the game will be broadcast on BYUtv as well as on the Cougar IMG Sports Network KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.

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