Approximately 70 basketball players ranging from 3rd-12th grades participated in the 4th Annual Mike Smith Camp held June 24-26 at Van-Far High School. Forty of the students were in 6th-8th grades.
Each camp participant learned the fundamentals of basketball. Some campers also received awards for contests that included hot shot, obstacle course, dribble knockout, and knockout.
“You can’t stress enough dribbling, passing, and shooting,” said Smith, a Van-Far graduate who played NCAA Division I basketball and most recently led his European professional team in scoring. “These are tools kids should work on everyday to become a good basketball player.”
This year, Smith received the help of former University of Missouri basketball star Laurence Bowers. Bowers talked with campers and worked with them on several drills. He’s expected to participate in the NBA Summer League this year with the hopes of making a professional team.
“I knew Bowers for a while now,” Smith said. “(He) has been a good friend of mine in Columbia. I mentioned to him possibly coming down to speak to the kids and he had no problem doing that. The week before my brother Matt ran his basketball camp at Rock Bridge for him so we chatted about it during that time.”
Smith’s brother Matt, sister Alicia and friends Marshall Corbin and Joe Basinger also helped with the camp.
Their help was even more important to Smith this year as he was limited with what he could do after having a sports hernia surgery on Monday before the camp.
“I had sports hernia surgery the Monday before camp started so it was tough for me to be really active with the kids like normal,” he added. “But my brother did a great job at running everything smoothly.”
All campers received a white camp T-Shirt that featured a Nike logo.
“That was done through my basketball agent,” Smith added.
The schedule for this year’s Camp was a little later due to Van-Far Elementary Summer School taking place at the high school this year.
“It was difficult with times but we worked around it,” Smith said. “Hopefully next year we can wait till summer school is out to schedule camp.”
Smith was very thankful for all of his help and the player participation with this year’s camp.
“(I) would like to thank all of my staff members, Matt, Alicia, Marshall, Joe, Bowers, Dana, and my mother Kelly who does most of the organizing while I am in Europe,” he said. “Big thanks to the kids who attended camp this year and their parents for allowing them to come. I hope that we can make a positive impact on your kids life and set good examples for their futures!”