TREVISO, Italy, June 28-29 -- On Saturday, more than 50 young participants from across Europe arrived and reported directly to the Basketball Without Borders camp, where director Marin Sedlacek separated the campers into individual teams (Clippers, Grizzlies, Jazz, and the Spurs).

There was no rest for the weary as the campers were put straight to work though intense scrimmages and real workouts.

  "This is just great ... it is very interesting to be here at the camp with 50 other young players. I have already spoken with many of them and I am sure I will keep them as friends," said 16-year-old Manuchar Markoishvili. "We are learning so many things.  It is unbelievable.  The NBA players are really nice.  I hope one day I will play in the NBA."

June 28-29 photo gallery

Houston Rockets forward Bostjan Nachbar greets players at the Basketball Without Borders camp.
Fabio Bozzani/NBAE/Getty Images
The camp features San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (France), Memphis Grizzlies forward Pau Gasol (Spain), Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko (Russia) and Los Angeles Clippers forward Marko Jaric (Serbia and Montenegro) as coaches.

The three-day basketball camp also features Houston Rockets forward Bostjan Nachbar (Slovenia) and Denver Nuggets forward Nikoloz Tskitishvili (Georgia).  For the first time, the camp brings together 15- to 17-year-olds from across Europe.

On Sunday, a news conference featuring representatives from the NBA, sponsors and UNICEF officially tipped off the camp, introducing the NBA players to the young campers and media on site.  One of the highlights of the day was the UNICEF program, which educated the campers about HIV and AIDS prevention.  This year, for the first time, Basketball Without Borders partnered with UNICEF, United Nation's Childrens Fund, to support education and HIV/AIDS prevention programs. 

In Sunday's games, Parker coached his Spurs squad to a 53-38 victory over Kirilenko's Jazz. Parker's team mirrored his own play as his point guards led the offense under his instruction.  In the other game, the Clippers, coached by Jaric, lost to Gasol's Grizzlies in a close-fought match 49-48.

The next round of games and drills will be Monday.

The camp is sponsored by Algida, American Airlines, Champion, Gatorade, NIKE, Spalding and United Colors of Benetton and co-organized by the NBA and FIBA. 

Since its inception in 2001, Basketball Without Borders has served as a summer camp for young people designed to promote friendship, goodwill and education through sport. 

The Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) selected the young players based on their basketball skills, leadership abilities and dedication to the sport of basketball.

In addition to basketball instruction and competition, the young players  share living quarters with their new teammates, eat three meals a day together and participate in a seminar, led by UNICEF intended to promote leadership, support education and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS education and prevention. 

The basketball camp returned to La Ghirada in Treviso, Italy, the camp's host in 2001.  Owned and operated by co-sponsor United Colors of Benetton, which owns the Treviso basketball team of the Italian league, La Ghirada is the team's state-of-the-art basketball facility, one hour north of Venice. 

Basketball Without Bordersalso marks a significant return for Jaric, Nachbar and Tskitishvili, all of whom played with professional teams in Italy before joining the NBA last season. Jaric played for Kinder Bologna and Nachbar and Tskitishvili were teammates with Benetton Treviso.

The other three NBA players also first started their professional basketball careers in Europe.  Gasol played for F.C Barcelona in Spain, Parker spent two years with Paris Basket Racing in France and Kirilenko played with CSKA Moscow in Russia.

The inaugural Basketball Without Borders took place in July 2001, with Vlade Divac of the Sacramento Kings, Toni Kukoc of the Milwaukee Bucks and five other NBA players from the former Yugoslavia uniting to work with 50 children from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYRO Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia Montenegro.

Last year's Basketball Without Borders brought together 50 young Greek and Turkish players in Istanbul, Turkey, and was led by the Sacramento Kings' Hedo Turkoglu and Peja Stojakovic