Quinton “Danka” Beasley, left, with DBL player Jamarcus Ellis and DBL co-founder Patrick Winters, far right, during an interview, aired on Comcast channel 19, after a league championship game in May. || Below: DBL summer league merchandise. | Photos courtesy Quinton Beasley/Facebook
Former Irving and Proviso East basketball standout Quinton “Danka” Beasley remembers life as one of the hundreds of aspiring teenagers running up and down the hardwood floors inside Proviso East’s field house during Michael Finley’s popular basketball camps.
Years later, with Finley’s camp now a golden memory, Beasley is at the helm of a growing basketball program of his own. After playing professionally in Spain, Beasley returned to his hometown to start a basketball league for youth and adults called the Danka Basketball League (DBL) that now services more than 700 people.
Now, armed with critical advice about what it takes to run a proficient camp from Finley himself, Beasley is expanding his homegrown empire to include a 5-day youth summer basketball camp that’s free to attend. On June 11, at the Maywood Multipurpose Building, 200 S. 5th Ave., DBL will host a draft day for camp participants comprising young people ages 6 to 17 years old.
The first 100 youths to be picked on draft day will receive a free pair of DBL socks — another entrepreneurial extension of Beasley’s basketball brand. The draft picks, which he said will be selected by a random lottery, will be broadcast on DBL’s website.
“Parents are very interested in this and the kids really want to play,” said Beasley, adding that, based on advice from Finley representatives, he estimates it might cost around $30,000 to pull off an efficient week-long summer camp for what he expects will be more than 300 registered participants.
Among funding mechanisms, Beasley started a GoFundMe account (click here) in May seeking to raise $35,000. So far, donors have given more than $2,500. Beasley said he’s still accepting sponsorships and donations to fund his camp and league, even though he’s already reeled in some high profile sponsors like the Chicago Bulls and the Windy City Sky basketball franchises.
He’s also partnered with local organizations like Athletic Konnection, another sports development organization; the Maywood Park District; the Safe Summer Initiative, a project designed to identify and create positive summer activities for youth; and the Village of Maywood.
Beasley said camp attendees can learn fundamental basketball skills in addition to gain exposure from high school and college basketball coaches.
Along with teaching the children basketball fundamentals, Beasley said he’ll also be handing out scholarships to encourage academic achievement and in honor of his friend Calvin Ector, a 17-year-old Maywood native and Proviso East honors student who was mysteriously gunned down in Bellwood in 2004. Ector was a point guard on the men’s varsity basketball team.
“Our goal is to have a camp for all of Maywood and the surrounding areas to participate in,” Beasley said. “We want a big, big camp with at least 700 kids. That’s my goal.”
For more information on DBL and the youth summer basketball camp, click here. VFP
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