Local hoops hoping to see the Magic touch

There have been some notable happenings in local hoops this summer.

Up to now the biggest news was the introduction of the indoor basketball league at Camana Bay.

Now there is another shocker in the coming of a summer hoops camp with figures involved with the Orlando Magic NBA team.

Monday sees the start of the Cayman Islands Basketball Association Orlando Magic camp.

The week-long camp takes place at the Arts and Recreation Center at Camana Bay (the same locale for indoor basketball).

Two sessions are slated to be ongoing for youngsters aged 7-16. The morning gathering takes place from 8:30am to 12 noon and is intended for children aged 7-12.

The afternoon session takes place from 12:30pm until 4pm and is geared towards kids aged 12-16.

Drills covering the fundamentals of the sport are expected to be taught at various stations inside the facility. Individual player evaluations will occur for each child and matches are expected to take place.

In addition to the emphasis on skill development there will also be trivia and contests to take part in. An awards ceremony is expected to occur on the last day of camp on Friday.

Leading the camp will be officials within the local basketball association and notable Orlando Magic staff and coaches within Central Florida.

Most of the Magic staff are scouts for the team and include Brian Wright (chief scouting co-ordinator), Antonio Perez (chief youth camp organizer), Tom Conrad (regional scout) and Justin Wingard (youth camp coach).

Meanwhile the other coaches bring an interesting history in and around the Florida hoops scene. Donnie Avery leads all junior NBA clinics around the world, Jack Lutzeier is the Florida director of a national basketball academy and Benson Callier is a relatively new coach who played professionally in Europe and at Florida State University.

There is slated to be a player from the Orlando Magic coming down for the camp. It is not absolutely certain which player will come although all indications point to former Duke University star and current Magic guard J.J. Redick.

Local basketball association secretary Loletta Hanna, who is one of the chief organizers behind the camp, shed some details on Redick’s probable visit.

‘Redick is probably the person who is coming but we will know for sure by this Friday.

‘He would not be here the whole week. He would be coming down for the last two days of the camp. At some point before he leaves we would take him and the coaches to local attractions like Stingray City.’

For the record the local basketball association is covering many costs related to bringing the coaches and the player to Cayman.

Among those expenses are airline tickets from Tampa to Cayman, appearance fees and hotel charges. In all the association is spending nearly CI$22,000 for the camp.

Hanna, who may be better known to most for her play in women’s flag football, went on to say that a number of notable Magic players were interested in coming to Cayman as part of the camp.

‘Jameer Nelson was the first to express an interest. Matt Barnes was also keen along with Mickael Pietrus.

‘However for Nelson and Barnes there were scheduling conflicts. Pietrus is in Paris and wanted to be flown here and we couldn’t pay for that. It all came down to who was available.’

Nelson is best known for his gutsy performance in the NBA Finals. In spite of breaking his arm during the season and missing the latter half of the year Nelson came back for Orlando and played well in spurts.

Barnes meanwhile is a well-travelled sharp shooter who has a new team in Orlando. Barnes, best known for his scoring prowess with the Golden State Warriors, signed with the Magic back in July.

Pietrus emerged to the national spotlight this season as a super sixth man for the Magic. With more playing time in Orlando than Golden State, the Frenchman showed he was a five tool player that could score, defend, rebound, pass and play more than position on the court.

In regards to the camp the registration fee is CI$75 per child and includes a free camp T-shirt, water bottle and gift bag.

The camp is limited to 250 children and interested persons are urged to sign up as soon as possible (though registration ends the first day of camp).

As Hanna says there has already been plenty of interest shown.

‘Camp registration, for the most part, is going through Jeff Wight (Property Manager for Camana Bay Sports Facilities). He has said he has had really good interest as a good amount of people are sending in registration forms.’

Registration forms can be downloaded at www.caymanbasketball.org or cut out and completed from this week’s editions of the Caymanian Compass.