By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Nearly two dozen boys and girls logged 28 hours of basketball instructions last week in the William Osteen Gymnasium on the campus of Millington Central High School.
For Grizzlies Youth Basketball instructors Steven McElroy and Finoy Perkins, it was the latest stop on a summer tour across the Mid-South. McElroy noted previous visits were made to Desoto Central in Mississippi and back in Tennessee at Arlington, Collierville, Lakeland and MUS.
From July 9-12, the Grizzlies Youth Basketball Camp called Flag City home.
“Good old drills and building on their confidence,” McElroy said. “We want them to come here and not only be a part of the Grizzlies organization and have a good time, but we want them to really get something out of it. Some good hardcore coaching, under the umbrella of Grizzlies Basketball.”
Grizzlies Summer Basketball Camps, presented by Nike, are typically four days of skill training provided by the Youth Basketball staff.
Camps are offered to boys and girls ages 7-16. All sessions run from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily.
“Summertime, a lot of kids need some guidance, somewhere to go and work hard,” McElroy noted. “While you go them out of school, you want to be there for them. During the school year, the Grizzlies do a lot of stuff as well. During the summer we want to go 7 hours a day and get as much out of the kids as we can.”
On the second day, the campers participated in drills as small teams building trust and cohesion. Then the children had to perform individual task improving dribbling, passing and shooting.
“End of the day, we want them to be a changed player and a changed person,” McElroy said. “They can get a lot from the basketball stuff we teach them. Everybody can use somebody like a coach to look up to and talk to. It’s to show you care. At the end of the week, they would have gone 28 hours. We hope they become not only a better basketball player but a better person.”
McElroy said the leader of the Millington Trojans Jewell Gates is an example of a coach investing in his players and community. Both McElroy and Perkins took advantage of Trojan players participating in drills as visual aids. Meanwhile Gates handled all the exterior things surrounding the camp over the four days.
“Coach Gates is here with us all day,” McElroy said. “He’s a part of what we’re doing. His players have done a really good job of being examples of the drills we’re doing and getting in there. They’re just as important part to the camp as we are.”
As Perkins and McElroy move onto their next stop, camps will continue until Aug. 2. The staff of Grizzlies Youth Basketball want to spread the message of the Memphis Grizzlies belonging to all of Shelby County and the Mid-South.
“You want to be a part of the community,” McElroy concluded. “Without the community, there is no team. To show you care and go out into these gyms. We’ll go out all over Greater Memphis. We can come out as an organization and be there. We’re making your hometown our hometown court.”
Camp is currently underway with Collierville Parks & Recreation located at 440 W. Powell Road in Collierville. The remaining three camps will be held July 23-26 at Longview Heights Baptist Church in Olive Branch, Miss., and two camps July 20-Aug. 2 at Bartlett United Methodist Church and Collierville United Methodist Church.
All skill levels are welcome as campers will be grouped by age and ability. Campers should bring a bagged lunch each day. Game tickets will be offered during the 2018-19 NBA season, with redemption details to be e-mailed at summer’s end. Additional camp information (what to wear, where to enter, etc.) will be e-mailed to registrants by the Friday morning prior to your camp’s start.
- Guest appearances will be attempted for all sessions, but cannot be guaranteed.
- Special Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions, and cannot be applied to registrations previously received.
For more information, call Antonio Perez at 901-205-1279 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration by phone is also available.