LAKE LENORE –– For its 22nd year, Hometown Hoops in Lake Lenore provided 45 kids with world-class training basketball training.
The three-day basketball camp teaches students from Grades 1 to 12 everything from the fundamentals of ball handling, passing, and shooting, to full court drills and scrimmages.
“The coaches are so welcome to any level of ability, that no matter what you come with you're going to learn something,” said first time student Jocelyne Durand, 15. “You don't have to worry about people judging you because everyone here is kind of like learning new stuff.”
Jillian Weseen, who’s been coaching with the camp nearly every year since it’s beginning, said what’s evolved the most is the caliber of the coaches.
“We used to use mostly local coaches,” she said. “Now we get coaches that have played overseas, coaches that played for the [University of Saskatchewan] Huskies, coaches that have played in the states. We've got some really great coaches that have come out.”
Two of this year's eight coaches include Margeret De Ciman of Regina and Paige Crozon of Humboldt, who have both played internationally.
After playing in Utah, Germany, and with the Canadian National Team, Crozon said the training she received as a student at Hometown Hoops is “definitely comparable to what you see around the world.”
“I think all basketball basics are the same, and the earlier you can start, the better,” she said. “They always bring in really talented and knowledgeable coaches, that help kids from a young age start to develop their skills and basketball knowledge.”
De Ciman, who’s played in West Virginia, Portugal, Spain and France, said what stands out for her at Hometown Hoops is the effort of the students.
“The kids are just extremely hard working. They're hustling, they're getting on the floor, they're going after loose balls, they're not complaining, they hit the floor then they bounce right back up,” she said. “You don’t see this in the city.”
The camp concluded on July 24, with a tournament and awards given out to students with the most hustle, spirit and skill, said Weseen.
“You see them improve immensely over the three days,” she said. “But what I like to see most is the camaraderie and friendships between communities.”