Pacers Host Five Camps on Summer Hoops Tour
July 19, 2013
The Pacers hosted the fifth annual Summer Hoops Tour this week, visiting a different venue in a different town all week. The free camps, which included about 100 elementary and middle school children each day, were so popular that all spots were filled well before the registration deadline, according Kelli Towles, the Pacers Director of Community Relations.
Summer Hoops Tour Videos: Day 1 » Day 2 » Day 3 » Day 4 » Day 5 »
The five stops for this year’s tour were made at Henry County YMCA (New Castle), Boys & Girls Club of Franklin (Franklin), Ben Davis High School, Glick Center at Crooked Creek, Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., campers were treated to instruction from Darnell “Dr. Dunk” Hillman, volunteer coaches from the National Basketball Academy, and Pacers employees. Each day, campers also heard from a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. Hallie Bryant from Crispus Attucks High School (1953) and a former Harlem Globetrotter, was Friday’s featured speaker.
Summer Hoops Tour Photos: Day 1 » Day 2 » Day 3 » Day 4 » Day 5 »
A highlight for the kids had to be meeting and working with a select Pacers player. Lance Stephenson, Miles Plumlee and Solomon Hill were active participants on different days; Layshia Clarendon and Jasmine Hassell of the defending champion Indiana Fever visited one camp apiece.
“It’s so neat for them to have that one-on-one access to the players and coaches,” said Ben Jones, the Director of the Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center – an upgrade in the community that Indianapolis’ Super Bowl, XLVI, left behind in 2012.
“This morning, the kids were just giddy. They were running all over the place and we couldn’t settle them down. They were like ‘When can we go in, when can we go in!’ They were really excited.”
Rookie Solomon Hill, drafted No. 23 overall on June 27th, hasn’t officially been a member of the Pacers for a month but he’s already begun to make an impact in the community by taking part in events like this one. He has fond memories of his camp days when he was young.
“It’s definitely fun because I used to be one of these kids,” Hill said on Friday. “I went to a bunch of camps. It’s great to interact with them and anything I can tell them, I do.
“My first travel team I played with, when I was six, we all went to USC camp. That’s when [Henry] Bibby, (father of former NBA point guard Mike), was the coach and I just remember because we won it all. That’s one thing I can talk about with my friends to this day. It’s a memory that we’ll always share, even when we get older.”
In addition to a Q & A with the Pacers and Fever players, campers worked on a wide-array of skills. During a rotating session, various stations covered footwork, ball handling, passing, and shooting. Hillman mixed in a few games like “Land, sea and air,” which concentrated on the campers listening skills and reaction time. The winner took home a prize pack.
13-year-old Marcus Bradley attended Friday’s session, his first camp in “a long time.” Though it was hard work, this unique experience is one that he’ll likely remember years from now.
“It’s awesome because it gives me a chance to work hard and get better at basketball so I can be in the NBA one day,” he said.
If your child wasn’t involved in this year’s camps, keep an eye out next summer because it’s unquestionably a lasting experience that a young boy or girl won’t forget, and can gain a lot from.
“I think the most important thing is that on the near eastside, we’re really trying to be a community space here,” Jones added. “To have almost 100 kids in here today to get an opportunity they might not have usually, it’s so valuable and the Pacers are such a great partner.”
Note: Papa Johns generously donated lunch all week and Gatorade provided the beverages.
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