Local basketball has made great strides of late.
From youngsters competing abroad to the introduction of the indoor basketball league at Camana Bay this summer has been a slam dunk.
Now another big step is being made on the local hoops landscape with the start of a summer hoops camp starring Orlando Magic team personnel.
Today 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 the Cayman International School grounds in Camana Bay (the same locale for indoor basketball).
Two sessions are slated to be ongoing each day 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. There is yet to be confirmation as to 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, was able to shed some details on Redick’s probable visit.
She had previously said in these pages that Redick is the person who is coming though she would know for sure by today.
The plan for Redick or whichever player shows up is that he will attend the last two days of camp. At that time the player will assist with coaching and there is slated to be an autograph session with the participants.
At some point before the player leaves the local basketball association 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, had also said a number of notable Magic players were interested in coming to Cayman as part of the camp.
The three biggest names that were tossed around were Magic starting point guard Jameer Nelson, newly acquired guard/forward Matt Barnes and athletic wingman Mickael Pietrus.
Ultimately focus shifted away from those three for a number of reasons. Nelson and Barnes presented scheduling conflicts while Pietrus wanted to be flown into Cayman from Paris.
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 with registration ending today.