NBA players attend Alcorn campPublished 12:18am Friday, July 1, 2011
NATCHEZ — NBA players Mo Williams and Trey Johnson were on Alcorn State’s campus Thursday providing motivational messages to a group of young basketball players at the Luther Riley Celebrity Basketball Camp.
Williams, a guard for the L.A. Clippers, said his goal was to inspire the youngsters more than teach them basketball skills.
“I love the aspect of speaking to (the players),” Williams said. “The teaching part of camp is for the director, I’m about motivation, and telling them something they might haven’t heard before to motivate them.”
L.A. Lakers guard, and former Jackson State player, Trey Johnson told the players about his time in the NBA Developmental League before he made it to the NBA.
The players also answered questions from the campers about playing with NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Blake Griffin.
Alcorn State first year coach Luther Riley organized the camp and said the goal was to teach the children skills that will help them be successful.
“We teach skills on the court and off as well,” he said. “These kids are not only impacted now but after basketball as well.”
Sixteen-year-old William Scott from Jackson said he enjoyed the camp and the instructors were laying the foundation to make him a better basketball player.
“They are showing us what we can do to get better,” he said. “You aren’t going to get much better at a camp, but they are giving us the tools to get better.”
Tony Bridges, a 17-year-old camper from Hattiesburg, said Riley’s camp was the first he ever attended.
“I’m learning a lot, I’ve never been to this type of camp,” Bridges said. “I’ve never experienced professional players coming to talk to me.”
Bridges said the main things he learned at the camp were focusing on fundamentals, focusing on attitude and grades and always have a back-up plan in case basketball does not work out.
Thursday was the final day of the camp and it featured a 3-on-3 tournament, and both high school players said they enjoyed the competition.
DeMarcus Cousins, a center for the Sacramento Kings, was also at the camp earlier in the week to work with the children.
Riley said he is friends with each of the NBA guest speakers and it is important to have accomplished players from the southeast to come speak with young athletes.
Williams and Johnson are both from Jackson and Cousins is from Mobile, Ala.
The camp was for players ages 5 to 17 and older campers stayed in the athletic dorms on campus.
Scott and Bridges said staying on campus in the dorms was a good experience for them.