Glades-area teens learn life lessons at basketball camp
Glades Central High basketball standout Patriana Vickers traveled to New Jersey to learn the mental aspects of basketball while developing character and life skills.
From tip - off to final buzzer, the Ball Stars Youth Camp was a slam dunk.
“This camp will enhance our basketball IQ , and add extra techniques that will raise me and my teammates’ game as well,” said Vickers, a junior who plays all positions for the Raiders.
Eight Glades-area students were chosen for the prestigious one-week summer camp headed by former NBA All-Stars Otis Birdsong and Michael Ray Richardson. Besides basketball, the camp promotes teamwork, leadership and respect, and teaches the kids life skills. The girls finished last week and the boys are there now.
“For the ladies, it was getting to interact with players on different levels from elementary to high school,” said chaperone Carla Starling of the Palm Beach Count y Sherif f ’s Off i c e. “They were really surprised how some of the younger girls were so aggressive and skilled in basketball.”
The girls were accompanied by Starling, and the boys are accompanied by Glades Central High School basketball coach Kenneth Torrence (“Coach T”), who also is a PBSO deputy.
Both the boys and girls camps took place in Paterson, N.J. All travel expenses were covered by the Palm Beach County Police Athletic League and the Palm B e a c h C o u n t y S h e r i f f ’s Foundation.
“The camp is not only about the game of basketball, it’s about the game of life and everything that goes with it,” Torrence said. “The camp exposes them to much more than they could have ever experience here in Pahokee, South Bay and Belle Glade. They get a chance to meet new people that they probably wouldn’t have meet and learn new skills.”
In June, the Ball St ars Youth Camp made a stop a t G l a d e s C e n t r a l Hi g h School and, with the help of PBSO, ran a program for 350 kids. During the Belle Glade camp, the following eight players shined and were invited to join other kids from around the country at the All-Star camp in New Jersey.
The girls chosen to attend Aug. 6 - 10 were Samori’a Curry ( junior, Pahokee High School), Vickers ( junior, Glades Central High School) and Linnaijah Brown (senior, Glades Central High School).
The boys chosen to attend Aug. 13 to Friday were Jairi Williams ( junior, Pahokee High School), Jeremiah Williams (sophomore, Pahokee High School), James Freeman III (sophomore, Paho- kee High School), Tarquin Rhett (senior, Glades Central High School) and Jerome West (sophomore, Pahokee High School).
“I was very excited to be picked to go on this amazing trip and I hoped to learn new things about basketball from a different coach’s point of view,” Brown said.
Camp runs 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day. One evening, Birdsong and Richardson took the girls to a WNBA game at the Westchester Convention Center to see the New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks. They had courtside seats, and the girls got a chance to see their favor- ite player, Sparks star Candace Parker.
“I think that was the highlight for all of us,” Starling said.
Another night after practice, the girls were given a tour of t he NBA s tore in Times Square, and the famous soul food restaurant Sylvia’s in Harlem.
B u t t h e b i g ge s t t a ke - away f or al l t he pl ayers was the basketball skills they learned. Drills, practice, techniques and strategy were broken down to their elements for these Palm Beach County players.
“Thi s c a mp wi l l r a i s e our game by adding new drills and moves to trick our defender,” Curry said. “It will raise my game by allowing me to think more and move quicker, and raise my basketball IQ.”
Brown was so excited for the trip, that she took three days to pack, and on the day of departure, she was up three hours early.
With so much to gain from the camp, she had reason to be anxious.
“This camp will help me improve so I can show my teammates new skills, and we can use these moves in a game,” she said.
Sheriff’s Foundation chairman Rick Seymour (from left) stands with PBSO Deputy and Glades Central High School basketball coach Kenneth Torrence; Ball Stars Youth Camp members Patriana Vickers (junior at Glades Central), Linnaijah Brown (senior at Glades Central), Carla Starling (PBSO Corrections), Samori’a Curry (junior at Pahokee High School), Jairi Williams (junior at Pahokee), Jerome West (sophomore at Pahokee), Jeremiah Williams (sophomore at Pahokee), James Freeman III (sophomore at Pahokee) and Tarquin Rhett (senior at Glades Central); First Lady of Belle Glade Lisa Wilson; Kevin Jackson Hamilton of Palm Beach County PAL; and PBSO Sergeant Willie Brookins.