Lake City Basketball’s Development League players and coaches celebrated a successful season with a barbecue and some pick-up games at Pen High on June 14.
D-League was a 10-week after school basketball program to develop skills and techniques for boys and girls ages six to 12. Coach Spencer McKay said he saw a phenomenal response when he advertised the program to all of the elementary students in the area, and was also pleased with the amount of high school students he was able to recruit as coaches.
“We had 132 boys and girls playing and 33 volunteer coaches, who are all high school students from Pen High, Maggie and Summerland,” said McKay. “It’s a great time to learn also for the older kids because they’re playing competitive basketball for their schools, so to be with me once a week and see how I teach things then they start to think about the games a little bit more. When you start to coach, it makes you think about it more and makes you a better player.”
McKay said for the younger players, participating in D-League is the perfect way to learn the sport before they develop “any bad habits.”
“They haven’t picked up any bad habits yet, so you can teach them the proper techniques right away,” said McKay. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years with Nothin’ but Net, doing youth camps, so there’s a method to do it and certain progressions you need to follow. So by the fourth or fifth week, we start seeing some big improvements, and by the end the family members that come out to watch are just blown away with how much their kids have improved.”
On May 31, the league hosted its semi-finals, with the finals taking place on June 7. McKay said it was a lot of fun because there were “a lot of upsets with teams that should have won, not winning, and the underdogs coming out on top.”
“We don’t give out a bunch of awards or anything like that, it’s really just for the spirit of it. And the winners were acknowledged at our wrap-up barbecue,” said McKay. “But the finals were just awesome.”
McKay said this league is great because it creates a friendly rivalry among the teams, and it brings together students from different schools who may not normally play together.
Anand Barar, a Grade 12 student coach for the league, said he was happy to volunteer his time to help the league since his high school season of basketball just ended.
“I was sad that it was over, but then McKay texted me about D-League and I thought it was a really cool opportunity,” said Barar. “I definitely noticed a huge improvement that I didn’t think would happen, because sometimes young kids can be unfocused. But they really improved this year.”
Eden Pearc, a Grade 10 student coach, had never taken on the role of coach before but did it for the love of the sport.
“I love the game of basketball and I didn’t have this type of developmental camp when I was younger, plus I enjoy kids, so I signed up,” said Pearc. “McKay is an awesome coach and it was very fun, it wasn’t about who wins every time it’s about learning the skills and being teammates.”
McKay said Lake City will be running another D-League in Penticton in fall 2019. In the meantime, players can sign up to attend the upcoming basketball camp Nothin’ but Net will be running from July 2 to 5.
“The camp will have guest coaches including former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Tom Johnson and pro basketball player Terrell Evans from Las Vegas. The camps are for two age groups, so the rookies are Grade 3 to 7, and the pro camp is Grade 8 to 12,” said McKay. “It’s running at Okanagan College so the young kids will go in the morning, and then high school kids go from 1:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon.”
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