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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Hoopsters give back

Former UA point guard Nic Wise was back in Tucson last week to run the third annual Tucson Summer Pro League basketball camp along with TSPL director and former Wildcat Corey Williams.

The camp for children 8 to 14 years old ran from July 11 through 14 at Tucson Parks and Recreation’s Northwest Center.

The four-day camp focused on skill development and the campers were taught basics of shooting and playing defense, but much of the camp was focused on team activities and competitions.

“”All of the kids are at that younger age where they don’t really know how to work on their skills,”” Wise said. “”So we incorporate skills and drills that make them get better but at the same time they’re having fun.””

Each day, current and former Wildcats came to help run the camp with Wise. They also met with the campers and gave them advice about life and the game of basketball. On Thursday, they were able to speak to Jamelle Horne and Derrick Williams about their experiences. The children held no punches.

“”How did you get over the missed three-pointer against (Connecticut)?”” one camper asked Horne.

“”We all thought it was going in,”” Horne said. “”But that’s basketball. It doesn’t always go your way. It was hard to swallow but we had to move on.””

The campers were able to play with the Wildcats in games of celebrity knockout and had the chance for some one-on-one time to shoot around with their favorite players.

“”A lot of the kids see us as a positive influence and they want to be like us,”” said UA guard Brendon Lavender. “”I’m all for it, I love to be involved with stuff like this. Everyone showed really good support for Wise, all of Tucson, and he just wants to show it right back.””

The camp concluded with an awards ceremony highlighting offensive and defensive all-stars of the camp along with MVPs. After the camp came to a close, the Wildcats were swarmed by campers looking for a chance to meet their heroes and get autographs.

“”I think stuff like this shows that we actually are human, to see something on TV and then to actually play with the kids and to show them a good time,”” Lavender said. “”We actually enjoy it as much as they do.””

The camp had 66 participants, which Wise said was well above the anticipated number for his first year at the helm. With the success of this year’s camp, Wise said he is planning on coming back to Tucson in years to come.

“”We’re looking forward to doing this every year,”” Wise said as the camp was winding down. “”Once Jordan Hill came and saw how the camp was going he wants to get on board next year. Chase Budinger is having his camp in San Diego this same week so next year he wants to move it around and maybe join me as well.””

Lavender and Horne, who both showed interest in helping Wise in years to come, hold a similar position to Budinger and Hill.

“”When you see that smile on some of these kids’ faces,”” Horne said, “”you know it’s genuine.””

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