Ingles hosts 8th annual basketball skills camp

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 12:38 pm on Friday, July 11, 2014

Trey Conner from the Grand Rapids Drive gives a motivational speech to basketball campers on Thursday at Greenville High School as part of the Zach Ingles Basketball Skill camp.

GREENVILLE — Zach Ingles just wants to see area kids in the gym, more specifically, being active.

For the eighth consecutive summer, the former Greenville Yellow Jacket basketball star, hosted his basketball skills camp at Greenville High School.

On Thursday, the camp wrapped after four days of learning the game of basketball. More than 90 kids participated in the four-day camp.

“Camp week is always a lot of fun. It was nice to get back in the gym,” Ingles said. “The most important part of camp, for me, is just getting kids in the gym. Hopefully, in four days of camp they learn some basketball, but I love seeing kids in the gym playing.

“That is the most rewarding part, seeing kids come back and seeing them in the gym,” he added.

The camp was split into two sessions. Kids entering kindergarten through entering fifth grade participated in the early morning session and kids entering sixth grade through ninth grade in the late morning.

“For the younger kids, we just want to develop an attachment to the game,” Ingles said. “They have to like the game to want to continue playing the game.”

Sydney Taylor, left, defends Rori Didion during Thursday’s Zach Ingles Basketball Skills camp at Greenville High School.

For the older kids, learning fundamentals is important.

“We want the kids to learn the game properly and teach fundamentals,” Ingles said. “Again, they are playing and that is good. Hopefully, we teach them something and the catch on to something to work on at home.”

The camp focuses on a lot of skill groups. The camp just isn’t a pick-up basketball game.

“I think the kids like the fact the camp is enjoyable,” Ingles said. “I hope they just enjoy the game and learn some things when they are here.”

In between the first and second sessions on Thursday, the camp had a visitor from the Grand Rapids Drive, the new affiliate of the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Development League. The Drive begin play this fall at the Deltaplex.

Community engagement coordinator Trey Conner spoke with each session, played some games and gave away some Drive merchandise and tickets.

“I go out and give motivational talks. Really just try to give the community very good support,” Conner said. “Since we are a basketball team, we do put a high emphasis on putting basketball together, but we put an even more important emphasis on getting the community involved and bringing this product to the community.”

The Drive will host an open house at the Deltaplex on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be activities for kids, local mascot appearances, Detroit Pistons personalities, a dunk contest and a chance to select-a-seat opportunities.

“We are very excited about the team starting up,” Conner said. “I think West Michigan has been waiting for an NBA development team.”

Ingles camp will be held again next year. As always, the camp takes place the first full week following the Fourth of July.

“I always said I would like to do this 10 years, but if there is still a demand, then we will cross that bridge when we get there,” Ingles said.

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