Here’s another guest post from MLSE Foundation Community Manager Kate Gustafson on this year’s edition of the Raptors Basketball Academy.
Since its inception in 2006, the Raptors Basketball Academy has been the only authentic NBA instructional camp in Canada. It’s a perfect fit for players who want to develop proper habits and build confidence, all the while taking part in a unique Raptors experience.
The camp is designed to give boys and girls, entry level and intermediate levels, the opportunity to develop their shooting, passing, ball handling and defense skills. The academy is also focused on highlighting the importance of education and improving the campers’ life-skills because becoming a better basketball player involves development off the court.
We asked forward Amir Johnson what he loved about attending camp this week.
Kate Gustafson: Why was it important to you to be involved with the Raptors Basketball Academy?
Amir Johnson: Just trying to show kids that with hard work they can reach their goals and that by helping out in the community they can also make a difference in the lives of others.
KG: What would you tell a camper it takes to become an NBA player?
AJ: You have to make sacrifices. I had to say no to my friends when they wanted to go out sometimes and goof around. Instead I went to the gym and worked on my game. I spent my summers going to camps and playing as much as I could. I knew that in order to get to the NBA I had to do whatever possible, no matter what.
We also caught up with two campers to hear more about their camp experience.
KG: Why did you come to the Raptors Basketball Academy?
Sagardeep R., from Markham: It’s a great learning experience, I wanted to meet new people and learn to ways to get better. The players and coaches have shown me new drills that I can use when camp is over. If I could, I would come to the camp forever.
KG: What is your favorite part of camp?
Sammy S., from Orillia: “I love the Full Court Challenges [shooting competitions, 3-on-3 games and fitness circuits]. It was a really fun way to expand my game and push myself to the limit. I can’t wait to come back next year.”
The Raptors Basketball Academy will wrap up on Friday after a great week of development, inspiration and fun. Highlights from the week include guest appearances by head coach Dwane Casey, forwards Quincy Acy and Amir Johnson, broadcast analyst Jack Armstrong, Raptors alumni Damon Stoudamire and Canada Basketball up and coming athletes Kia Nurse & Chris Egi.
Toronto Raptors Basketball Development is focused on delivering accredited programming at all levels of play with a wealth of programs and initiatives that strive to support the growth of the game in Canadian communities.
You can learn more about the Raptors Basketball Academy and register for upcoming camps and clinics at its official website.