FORT HOOD, Texas -- Coaches and staff from the Baylor University men's basketball team hosted a youth basketball camp at Abrams Physical Fitness Center for kids from the military community here, Dec. 12.
Forty-eight youth in grades 1-5 enrolled in the post's Child, Youth and School Services attended the event.
After an opening talk from Baylor head coach Scott Drew, the kids split up into groups of 6-8 to different skills stations on the basketball court. At each station, the kids learned about different skills essential to being successful basketball players like passing, dribbling, shooting layups and shooting free throws. Drew walked around to each station to help the other coaches and to work with the kids.
Echoes of kids laughing and basketballs dribbling filled the gym.
"Whenever you're around kids, especially six to 10 years old, seeing them excited to be in the gym and practicing and getting better, learning new skills, that's always rewarding and always fun," Drew said. "I know for our staff, it's an honor and privilege to give back to some of the Soldiers' kids for all they do for us."
At the end of the camp, all the kids gathered around Drew on the court for a final pep talk. The coach focused on the importance of getting good grades in school and practicing the sport they play.
Spc. Robert McMillan, 1st Cavalry Division, brought his 8-year-old daughter La'Nydia Morgan to the camp.
"She's a big basketball girl," he said. "Her whole Family on her mom's side are basketball (fans). (The camp) was something that Baylor's giving back to us military Families, being free, it's something that she enjoys."
La'Nydia, who said she had fun during the camp, wanted to go to learn how to play more basketball.
"We learned how to dribble, how to pass overhead, chest pass and bounce pass," she said.
La'Nydia also said she was very excited to be able to watch her first college basketball game when Baylor takes on Hardin-Simmons University at Abrams Physical Fitness Center, Dec. 16. She's going to the game with her dad.
McMillan said he liked seeing how well the coaches worked with the kids, teaching them different skills.
"It's a real good thing that (Baylor is) doing," he said. "We're really appreciative."
Tania Culpepper brought her 8-year-old daughter, Jasmine, so she could try out basketball to see if she wanted to play.
"I think it's a pretty neat thing that they have," Culpepper said. "Playing basketball, you don't realize that they have to incorporate all these different stages and steps into playing, so it's kind of neat that it gives them a breakdown on how to play the sport.
"I just want to thank the Baylor University team for coming out here," she added, "and giving the kids an opportunity to be able to enjoy the camp."
Four days later, the Baylor Bears downed the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys at Fort Hood, 104-59.