July 1, 2011
As Paul Silas spoke at the commencement of the fifth Bobcats Youth Hoops Summer Camp of 2011 on July 11, he made it clear the camp’s focus would be on fundamentals and having a good attitude.
"The fundamentals are what’s most important in basketball, and then your talent will take you to wherever you can go – to college, high school, the pros – but if your fundamentals are sound, you’re going to be better than the rest of the kids," Silas said in front of dozens of eager children from 6-16 years old.
Flashing the trademark radiant Silas smile, he opened the week-long camp teaching some basics of shooting, passing, defensive stance and blocking out fundamentals. Taking campers aside to demonstrate each part, he showed the importance of keeping the elbow straight for effective shot form, two-handed chest passing so that the ball has backspin as it travels through the air to the recipient using one’s body to take away space from your opponent during rebounding opportunities. He also emphasized defensive stance by noting that one’s feet shouldn’t cross when covering an opponent.
He used his NBA career to illustrate some of his points and the importance of learning the fundamentals.
"I wasn’t a great shooter in college or the pros, but if I had someone to teach me the fundamentals of shooting, I would have been much better," Silas continued. "When I played, I was not a great leaper, but I was a great rebounder. Why? Because I knew how to use my body. I knew how to block out."
But more than just in basketball, Coach Silas wanted to instill in the young campers that having a good attitude in life and working hard were imperative.
"Attitude is what’s most important in life. If someone says this about you: 'He has a great attitude,' that’s the best anybody can say about you in life," Silas told the wide-eyed kids. "Why? Because you can choose to have a great, positive attitude, or you can choose to be negative. You can choose that. I choose to be positive. It’s gotten me to where I am, coaching and playing, because I have a positive attitude."
And with that, Coach Silas wrapped up his speech and the camp began.
The children were split up into groups by age and the coaches conducted drills to warm up before working on the more physically challenging basketball activities.
Kids high-skipped and sprinted across the practice court, grinning and working hard, perfectly exemplifying what Coach Silas had just preached.