Saturday, April 6, 2019 || By Shanel Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Proviso East alum and former NBA player Steven Hunter works with a participant during his Spring Break basketball skills camp on April 6. | Shanel Romaina
Proviso East alum and retired NBA center Steven Hunter, 37, is hosting first annual Spring Break Give-Back Basketball Camp over the weekend at his Maywood alma mater.
More than 100 young people in first through eighth grade gathered in the field house at Proviso East to participate in the camp, which presented them with a range of skill-enhancing drills.
Sergio Turner, Jr., Hunter’s 13-year-old cousin who attends Burnside Academy in Chicago, said Saturday that he’ll apply some of the skills he’s acquiring at the two-day camp against his AAU competition.
“I learned that when we pass, we have to step so our opponents don’t steal the ball,” Turner said. “So, I learned how not to get the ball stolen.”
Ashlee Horton was visiting from Minnesota. Her grandparents live in the area and she’s here for the weekend, she said.
“My dad signed me up,” Horton said, before lauding the camp. “I like how we’re moving the ball a lot, trying new things and meeting new people.”
Ashlee Horton and Sergio Turner, Jr. at Steven Hunter’s basketball skills camp on Saturday. | Shanel Romain
Hunter, who has hosted skills camps in Bellwood, said that he was motivated to host his first camp at Proviso East after discovering “a lack of alumni presence among our kids in Maywood.” That lack could be leading to a decline in the area’s basketball talent pool, he said.
The weekend camp is just the latest iteration of community initiatives that Hunter — a former has led in the Proviso Township area. Hunter, who played in the NBA from 2001 until 2011, is currently an ambassador for the Phoenix Suns, who he played for in 2004-05.
Last year, Hunter helped launch a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) after school program in Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview Elementary School District 89. Earlier this year, he expanded the program to Bellwood School District 88.
“I want to get kids excited about playing basketball again,” Hunter said on Saturday. “I want to get them back to having fun. I want to get them off of their cell phones and social media and back to interacting with each other.”
Hunter said that he plans on bringing the camp back at least multiple times a year.
“I plan on coming back in the summer and the winter,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll be back at least three times a year. In order to make a real impact you cant just come once. You have to make your presence felt all year round and give kids something to look forward to.” VFP
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