By RENALDO DORSETT

HUNDREDS of young basketball enthusiasts descended on the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium for one of the country’s most popular summer basketball camps.

The 28th annual Jeff Rodgers Summer Basketball Camp officially tipped off yesterday and will continue through July 24.

Now one of the mainstays on the summer schedule, Rodgers addressed the campers which included scores of newcomers and returning campers.

“This is a basketball camp, but you will learn more than basketball. You will learn the basics of how to play the game. But you will also learn to be a good student, good brother, good sister and good citizen of the Bahamas. We want you to become great players, but even more than that we want you to become great people,” he said.

Since 1987 Rodgers has staged the camp, which provides an opportunity for the young children to engage in some wholesome sporting activities during the summer months. At the same time, they get to develop their skills.

A number of the instructors got their start in the camp as participants. But Rodgers said they went on to develop their skills and they have returned to lend their expertise to the younger players who are following in their footsteps.

This year some of the camp instructors will include national team members Tehran Cox, Scottie Farrington and Eugene Bain, fresh off their silver medal performance at the CBC Championships, Quentin Demeritte, Marcellas Hall among others.

“Over the years, wherever I travel, either in Nassau or in the Family Islands, people always tell me about the experience their son or daughter had in attending the camp,” Rodgers said.

“So it’s a lot to be thankful for and I won’t want to put a price tag on the benefits that have been derived from the camp.”

This year’s camp will have its usual appearance of NBA icons but, in addition, this year will feature a special honour for the most iconic name in Bahamian basketball, Mychal “Sweet Bells” Thompson.

“The guest list includes Byron Scott along with his point guard Jordan Clarkson from the Los Angeles Lakers and Eric Gordon from the New Orleans Hornets,” Rodgers said. “But we are looking forward to players from the championship Golden State Warriors coming as well. We will welcome another of Bahamian descent in Klay Thompson, Dramon Green, MVP Andre Iguodala.”

Under the patronage of Obie Wilchcombe, minister of tourism, and Dr Daniel Johnson, minister of youth, sports and culture, Rodgers said a welcome reception is set to be held at the Melia Cable Beach resort for the visiting stars on Wednesday, July 22.

While here, the stars will also join in a ceremony to honour Thompson who watched as his son followed in his footsteps by winning the NBA title with the Warriors. Thompson, the first round pick of the Portland Trailblazers in the 1978 draft, was eventually traded to the Los Angeles Lakers where he went on to win consecutive crowns with the “Showtime” in 1987 and 1988 before retiring in 1991.

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