Zakary Konanz has been attending the Penticton Basketball camp for years.
The Grade 12 Penticton Secondary School student keeps coming back because he loves the coaching he gets from UBC Thunderbirds bench boss Kevin Hanson.
“Every year I feel like I learn something new,” said Konanz, who is hoping to have a big season with the Lakers.
Konanz is among 40 boys in the advanced camp, which is full and the development camp held at Princess Margaret with 42 boys that wrapped up Thursday. Konanz is eager to have a strong season and has been working hard on his skills since middle school.
“Now it’s kind of my chance to make a mark,” the point guard said.
His focus is on getting more consistent with the fundamentals of the game. Konanz has attended several camps and feels that in each camp, players gain certain skills or techniques which stand out.
“If I can pick up like two different things, then that will help my game,” he said.
And he loves being able to learn from UBC Thunderbirds fifth-year guard Nathan Yu. Since shooting is Yu’s forte, he shows the players the technique that helped him average 12.8 points per game as he scored 435 points in 34 games.
“That’s been pretty cool,” said Konanz. Adding that Yu was very friendly.
Yu, who plans to play professionally in Asia, said going over techniques and little things help kids to improve and get to the next level.
“This is where you get better at it,” said Yu, who went to camps when he was a kid growing up in Prince George. “You learn new drills, learn little things to get better from coaches.”
Yu enjoyed working with the kids because they listen to everything and are appreciative.
“After the first day, we had 15 kids come up to me thanking me,” he said. “You don’t get that in the Lower Mainland or anywhere else. These kids are very nice kids.”
One of the players the camp attracted from outside the valley is Nelson’s Adam Grace. He heard about the camp through a friend and has been impressed.
“It’s a solid camp,” said Grace. “Lots of good coaches. Lots of good players. Nice facility for sure.”
His goal during the camp is to improve his ball handling, shooting and improve playing with new faces.
Hanson, who will be coaching Canada’s national under-25 team during the World University Games in China in August, said he focuses on fundamentals. A fan of quality shooters, Hanson places emphasis on the offensive side.
“Just passing, dribbling, one-on-one and some team play in the afternoons,” said Hanson. “We do a lot of things, one-on-one tournaments, free throw tournaments and three-on-three, etc. The kids get to touch the basketball a lot, share it a lot and all have some form of success.
“We say we want the kids to have fun and to learn,” he added. “If they are not having fun they are not going to learn. They are not going to get into that type of environment. We want them to have an enjoyable experience.”
Fred Fedorak, organizer of the camp, said numbers for this year are strong. Along with strong numbers for the boys, the girls camp, which takes place Aug. 8 to 11, is overbooked. There is limited space for the development camp.