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DALLAS (CBSMiami) – The University of Miami men’s basketball team is in Dallas getting ready for the NCAA Tournament, but the players are paying attention to the walkouts happening all over the country.

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The most eloquent players on the subject were a pair of freshman, just a year removed from their high school days.

Chris Lykes and Lonnie Walker say the national demonstrations send a strong message.

“For me, it’s a national problem we have,” said Lykes. “It makes me understand that your life can be taken any moment.”

Their team practiced on Wednesday in Dallas for their opening round game against Loyola of Chicago on Thursday.

Afterwards, Lykes and Walker took to the podium and addressed the walkout.

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“Most of those kids went to that school not expecting that to be their last day living,” Walker said. “Most people went to that school to get educated, be knowledgeable and learn and look forward to their future lives so the fact that it got taken away so quickly, it’s definitely one of the saddest things.”

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The Canes showed support for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School right after the tragedy.

Lykes and Walker hope Wednesday’s walkouts are a further wakeup call.

“It definitely has to be struck, especially because of this national walk, we have to take this seriously because lord knows what could happen next,” Walker said.

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The players say they hope th demonstrations lead to tougher gun laws and improved school safety.

Jim Berry