For many years, a basketball skills camp for youth has been a part of Yarmouth’s summer sports calendar. The weeklong event is a chance for young hoopsters to learn more about the sport and improve their game.
Co-ordinated by Chuck Smith and Calvin Smith – the camp’s head instructors – this year’s Yarmouth camp is scheduled for Aug. 19-23. Registrations are being accepted through Yarmouth Recreation (902-742-8868).
The camp has changed from what it used to be. For one thing, it now takes place at Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School. For a long time, it was at Burridge. The camp also used to be open to boys and girls, although these days it’s an all-male event.
(However, there is now a separate Yarmouth camp for female players, with this year’s girls event taking place at NSCC Burridge Campus the same week the boys have theirs. More details on the girls camp are at the end of this story.)
Discussing the boys camp recently, Chuck Smith said a number of visitors will be in Yarmouth for various portions of this year’s camp, sharing with participants their considerable knowledge of the sport.
They include Kevin Duffie, head coach of men’s basketball at Acadia University, who will take part in the camp on the opening Monday afternoon (Aug. 19) and all day Tuesday (Aug. 20).
“We’re excited to have him,” Smith said.
The following day – Wednesday, Aug. 21 – Will Njoku will be at the Yarmouth camp. Njoku was one of Canada’s best collegiate players while at Saint Mary’s University and was drafted by the NBA’s Indiana Pacers in 1994. (He didn’t make the Pacers’ roster.) He played professionally in Europe for a decade or so and represented Canada at three world basketball championships.
“Will’s been down here to do motivational speaking before,” Smith said. “Of course, he’s knowledgeable with all that experience.”
A couple of other former Saint Mary’s players are slated to help out with the camp later in the week, including Chuck Smith’s son, Shawn, and Cordell Wright.
Shawn Smith, 36, had a stellar high school career in Yarmouth. Among other things, he was Nova Scotia midget player of the year and juvenile player of the year and played in the Canada Games. Wright also played in the Canada Games.
Shawn’s father – a local basketball star is his own right during his days at YCMHS, who later spent many years coaching the Yarmouth high school varsity boys team – was asked how the Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship might affect basketball at the youth level.
“I think it’s going to be a really good motivator for the kids to see that Canada can have a team that wins the NBA title,” he said. “I think, overall, it will motivate people, get people talking and stimulate interest in basketball.”
The registration fee for the Aug. 19-23 Yarmouth camp is $125 per person, or $120 if there are two or more from the same family. The camp will go daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, the same week that the boys have their camp at the Yarmouth high school, a basketball camp for girls will take place at NSCC Burridge, with sessions there going daily from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $100 and the contact person is Andrew Hiltz at 902-749-1303 or [email protected]