Reaching for the Rim

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | 7:58 pm

 

It isn’t enough to simply turn young athletes into possible NBA players, nor is it likely, says Eszylfie Taylor, owner and director of Pasadena’s Future Stars summer basketball camp.

“The chances that any young player becomes an NBA player are slim,” says Taylor. “That’s not our goal. Our goal is to make that player the best player he can be, regardless, and to teach the value of hard work and discipline.”

According to Taylor, joining a basketball team requires kids to learn about commitments. Because teams rely on each other so much, it is imperative that kids make all their practices and are ready to go on time.

“Children learn about the value of time management and the value of keeping promises,” he said.

While Taylor was a four-sport varsity athlete at Maranatha High School, he was probably the shortest player on its basketball team. This only drove him harder to succeed.

He was awarded a basketball scholarship to play at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, where he enjoyed a stellar career as a point guard for the Cavaliers. And, despite his small stature, he could still dunk, a difficult task for any basketball player of any size. (Never let anyone describe anything easy to you as a ‘slam dunk.’ It’s something few can do.)

But Taylor sees basketball as not about dunking—it’s a team sport. You’re only as good as your teammate. A great pass is as good as a basket.

“Playing basketball relies heavily on team skills,” says Taylor on the camp’s Facebook page. “The kids have to work together and look for other teammates to help them out. Getting a basket will often take the entire team’s effort. Some teammates will be blocking the other team from trying to get the ball. Others will try and get close to the net and be open if a chance comes to make a shot. Whoever has the ball has to be aware of their teammates and where they are in the play. Basketball teams tend to foster deeper friendships between players because they start to develop a level of trust with each other on the court.”

And then there is the importance of good coaching.

Explains Taylor, “Team sports like basketball are most effective when there is positive reinforcement. The best coaches will encourage the kids when they are doing a good job and give them constructive advice when they make a mistake. A great coach can really instill confidence in the players, which will make them stronger in other areas of their lives.”

His Future Stars basketball camp, now in its 14th year, strives to instill all of that in young players. Over the years, the camp has seen hundreds of young hopefuls go on to successful careers, many of which have nothing to do with basketball.

This year’s camp will run August 4-8 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is open to boys and girls from K-5th grade and 6th -12th grade. The camp will focus on offensive and defensive fundamentals, and campers compete in 5-on-5 full court games daily. The camp is held at First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena.

While the camp price is about $200, the doors are open to everyone, thanks to the camp’s annual Charity Golf Tournament. All of the proceeds go to helping underprivileged children attend the camp. Over the past 12 years, the tournament has provided an opportunity to hundreds of children who otherwise would not have been able to attend.

This year’s golf tourney will take place at Red Hill Country Club in Rancho Cucamonga, May 15th, 2014.

“Basketball is life,” says Taylor. “The way we treat our teammates is the way we treat friends and neighbors. We help in any we can. That’s teamwork.”

More information on the Future Stars Camp is available at www.futurestarscamp.org. More information on the charity golf tournament is available at http://tinyurl.com/l2uf2tv.

 

 

 

 

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