Magic Players Celebrate Jr. NBA Week with 850 Local Youth

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO – Both Wes Iwundu and Isaiah Briscoe remember participating in youth basketball camps and clinics like they attended them yesterday. Not only did these camps help them develop skills on the court, they also gave the Magic’s two young, blossoming players a ton of confidence.

Meeting some of their basketball heroes and learning from established professionals were perks they will never forget. Reflecting on those experiences still, to this day, motivates them.

Former Magic player Steve Francis, who was a star in Houston at the time, gave Iwundu and other kids some basketball tips when the now 23-year-old participated in a Rockets camp during his childhood.

J.R. Smith and other pros did the same for Briscoe and his peers a few years back when the Magic rookie was an up-and-coming basketball prodigy in New Jersey.

Those fond memories, still cherished and appreciated, have inspired Iwundu and Briscoe to now assist youth in a similar way.

On Thursday at Carver Middle School in Orlando, the pair teamed up to help celebrate Jr. NBA Week (Oct. 8-15) by participating in the Orlando Magic Youth Basketball Academy’s Jr. NBA All-Star Skills Challenge. Along with Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, Magic Dancers, STUFF the Magic Mascot, the Magic Blue Crew and other volunteers, Iwundu and Briscoe guided and cheered on students as they participated in various basketball contests.

“This is very special,” Iwundu said. “Any time we are able to give back, hang around smaller kids and just be around them and show them the basics of basketball, that’s always good because it helps them stay focused and be active. It lights me up, makes me smile. Seeing them happy makes me happy.”

“It’s amazing,” Briscoe added. “We’re here to work on the youth, help the youth, make sure they keep their head’s on straight and do the right thing.”

Last season, the Magic unveiled their Youth Basketball Academy, which focuses on teaching life skills to youth through the game of basketball and emphasizes the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership and health and wellness to accomplish their goals.

The 800+ students at Carver Middle School weren’t the only ones beaming from ear to ear throughout the fun-filled afternoon. School administrators, teachers and other faculty were ecstatic seeing their students having a blast.

“The kids have been anticipating this all week, they were so excited,” Carver Principal Jackie Ramsey said. “They love basketball, they love the Magic and the feeling that they have value because the Magic came here to see them is the best part.”

Jr. NBA is the league’s youth basketball participation program that teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents.

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