Youth clinic kicks off with a bang

Posted on Jun 05 2006

Over 100 kids attended yesterday morning’s youth basketball clinic for players between eights and 12 years old conducted by the University of Nations, which was led by former NBA forward David Wood.

Wood, who played for the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and the Milwaukee Bucks in a seven-season NBA career, said he could not have hoped for a better turnout.

“For this facility we’ve got about as many as we could comfortably handle to give an excellent camp. We’ve got another 100 or so coming this afternoon,” he said.

Wood, who got some help conducting the clinic from former University of Nevada coach Mike Brown, former athletic director of University of Nevada Dick Dankworth, and baseball veteran Dan Dix, said the first day of the youth clinic focused mainly in teaching the kids about the fundamentals of basketball.

“We worked a lot on just dribbling the ball correctly. If you can’t handle the ball, you can’t really play this game very well. As a group, we had enough [balls] for everyone to have a partner. Then we went to the fundamentals of basketball: Shooting; lay up; passing; defensive footwork; post move; and forward move. It was really hard work teaching specific movements but we really wanted these kids to get better,” he said.

The 6’9” former University of Nevada standout said the first day’s clinic also focused in having the kids develop the mental part of the game as well as learn lessons in life.

“Today I also talked about goals and dreams and how important it is to set goals and dream big dreams. Life is hard and if you don’t have big goals and big dreams when it gets hard you end up quitting. So, we talked a lot about goals and dreams, controlling what you say with your tongue, speak life, you can kill your dreams if you don’t speak in faith,” he said.

Along with his fellow UN delegates, Wood also brought along two of his four sons—Moses and Caleb.

Wood also reminisced a little about his stint in the Philippine Basketball Association where he played with the Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs.

“I played alongside Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, and Dindo Pumaren. Our coach was Eric Altmirano. It was an altogether awesome experience. The team started a little slow when I got there, but then we won six games in a row. Unfortunately we lost in the semifinals to Red Bull. People really love basketball there,” he said.

Northern Youth Basketball Association vice president and Matansa Sparks head coach George Cruz was also ecstatic about the turnout for the first day of the youth clinic.

“It’s really a success. Just having these kids come out and over a hundred of them it’s really, really good. Having the team of David Wood, Mike Brown, and company working with them it’s great, really great. We start to see the talent. Exposing kids to basketball and see them develop skills is just awesome,” he said.

NYBA president and Garapan Rollers head coach Joe Diaz seconded Cruz’s sentiments when he said, “I’m very happy. It’s no always that Saipan gets to host an ex-NBA player and have him conduct a clinic for free. All the kids are happy and so are we,” he said.

The youth clinic for players 8 to 12 years old continues today from 8am to 12pm followed by the clinic for 13- to 17-year-old players, which is from 1pm to 4pm. It will run until Wednesday and will culminate with a championships tournament on Thursday morning.

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