Friday, September 5, 2014

Youngsters pick up tips on becoming a good sportsman at three-day camp

Christopher (left) and Randy (second left) training the youths in Sungai Besi.
FOURTEEN young basketball players have been chosen as the first batch of Malaysian Jr NBA All-Stars squad after a three-day intensive training camp.

The camp was the culmination of a three month-long programmeme presented by Dutch Lady, involving participation from more than 800 youths from around the Klang Valley.

Denver Nuggets player Randy Foye was in town to share his wisdom and tips as well as help with the selection during the camp.

“My main focus is to inspire the kids to work hard every single day to get where they want to be, not just in basketball, but also in life.

Coaching and talking to the youths, helping them to understand what work ethic is all about and what it takes to be a good basketball player, including dieting, were just some of the topics that Randy shared with the juniors during the camp.

Randy also spoke to StarMetro on self-determination and sportsmanship – as part of the Jr NBA’s Star core values – sportsmanship, teamwork, attitude and respect.

“It is important to understand that you are the most important person and that’s the most important thing.

“As a basketball player, when I step on to the basketball court, I think I’m the best player. Other people and the fans may not, but that is what motivates me; saying to myself that I can be the best.

“There will also be plenty of bumps on the road, not just in sports but in life. But if you continue to work and understand that it’s not a race but a marathon, you will always feel really good about the effort that you have put in,” he said.

Randy also shared some insights on teamwork: “If someone makes a mistake on the court, the five players on the opposite side are already happy that you made the mistake. So you cannot have the other four people who are on your side be against you too.

“It does not work like that. Everybody in the team has to stick together,” he added.

Aside from assessing their individual skills, the youths were pitted against each other during daily matches, allowing coaches to identify players who had a good mix of skills and demonstrated the Star values.

“It was a very difficult decision, deciding the last 14 Jr NBA All Stars. The coaches had a very heated and passionate debate (over the players),” NBA Asia specialist of basketball operations Christofer Sumner said.

“All the players played well and made the decision for the entire coaching staff a very difficult one.

“Unfortunately, it is a part of sports and life to not make it. Both Randy and I have not made it in the past.

“You have to use this as fuel for motivation to be better in the future.

“It’s going to sting today, tomorrow and probably next week, but just use that to move forward and hopefully come back next year, one year stronger and with a full year of practice.

“For the 14 players, they will have a unique NBA Experience trip and get to travel out of the country to watch a live NBA game and meet up with other regional All-Stars from other Jr NBA Clinics in South-East Asia,” Christofer added.

Ong Xin Yue, 13, from SMK Bandar Baru Seri Petaling who did not expect to to be selected for the All Star’s team, was elated when she made the team and thankful for the experience.

“I learnt a lot during the training and was taught a lot about basketball related skills and I am very happy with the outcome.”

It was the same for Maegen Mahadevan Suresh Mahadevan, 14, from SMJK Chong Hwa when the announcement was made, much to his surprise.

“Even though I had the confidence in myself, no words can describe the relief and happiness when they called my name.”

Both Xin Yue and Maegen were chosen as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) from their groups for their outstanding performance and demonstration of the Star values.

“This is an interesting programme and I look forward to the other matches with the other teams.

The juniors will be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel overseas for an NBA experience trip and play against their counterparts from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam later in the year.

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