Daniels Delivers Message to Jr. Celtics
WALTHAM, Mass. (March 3, 2012) – At the sound of a buzzer, 30 third- and fourth-graders sprinted to their next station in the gym at HealthPoint on March 3 during the Jr. Celtics Skills Clinic, presented by Chipotle. The event was hosted by the Boston Celtics at their practice facility and was in partnership with the YMCA and Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF).
Participants were ushered into the Hall of Fame room where they received a T-shirt and a Jr. Celtics sweatband set. All of the kids rushed to put on their new gear while looking through the windows out onto the parquet floor that rested below them. Boston Celtics Community Relations Manager Dave Hoffman then led everyone to the bleachers where Matt Meyersohn, Director of Community Relations and Player Development, was waiting to welcome the crowd. All of the kids gazed in amazement at the floor, the championship banners hanging on the walls, and the championship trophy peeking through the window from Danny Ainge’s office.
Once settled, Meyersohn explained the sequence of events and the importance of learning basic basketball drills that can be done anywhere. He then welcomed Celtics player Marquis Daniels as his special guest. Daniels appeared while the young players cheered and clapped in excitement. Following his introduction, Daniels demonstrated all of the drill stations and then the youth split into groups and hurried to show the Celtics’ player their skills.
Each group had five minutes at a station to improve upon their skills or learn a new one. With the help of coaches from the YMCA and BCYF, the kids ran the 50-yard dash while dribbling, practiced their passing with hula hoops, weaved through cones, improved their defense with slides, worked on their shooting form and practiced the correct way to shoot a layup. With the sound of each buzzer, kids rushed to the next station with smiles on their faces ready to learn a new skill.
Daniels shuffled between stations to challenge or push the youth working on their basketball skills. One young player was able to practice his crossover move as Daniels played defense on him during the weave drill. Others cheered on one of their teammates as he triumphantly crossed the baseline before Daniels during the 50-yard dash station. As the final buzzer sounded, the exhausted players took a seat on the bleachers to hear about Daniels’s journey to the NBA.
The youth listened as Daniels relayed the same message his mom had given to him when he was their age.
“My mom always told me to never be a ‘What-if’ player,” said the forward.
He further explained the importance of his message in terms of school and life, not only basketball. An anxious parent asked if Daniels could tell the kids how important reading and going to school was to him.
Daniels simply said, “Without school I wouldn’t be able to have any of this.”
Meyersohn continued by proudly telling the crowd that Daniels graduated college in three years instead of four. The youth and their guests applauded his accomplishments!.
Meyersohn concluded the day by telling the youth, “Doing these drills today are not going to make you better. You have to do them every day after school. You guys saw how much fun it is to do these. Get a bunch of friends together and run through the drills. Inside or outside, it doesn’t matter!”
After Daniels handed out autographed pictures and posed for photos, he said goodbye to the group. Their gifts for the day will serve as a tool to remind them to practice the drills they learned and to never be a what-if player.