Penticton hoopsters honing their skills

Former pro visits alma mater to coach youth basketball camp

KARTER FRY gets some coaching from Rene Aubin during the morning of the Penticton Basketball Camp at KVR Middle School Thursday for the younger group. Coaches worked with players in Grades 9 through 12 at Pen High. The camp started Monday and finished Thursday.

KARTER FRY gets some coaching from Rene Aubin during the morning of the Penticton Basketball Camp at KVR Middle School Thursday for the younger group. Coaches worked with players in Grades 9 through 12 at Pen High. The camp started Monday and finished Thursday.

Talented basketball players honed their skills during the 32nd edition of the Penticton Basketball Camp, July 29 to Aug. 1.

Working with youth in Grades 7 to 12 at KVR Middle School and Pen High, Gordie Herbert stressed one thing.

“At the end of the day when you come Thursday afternoon, they have things they can go work on their own if they want to,” said Herbert, a Princess Margaret and Pen High alumni, who played for the University of Idaho and professionally in Finland for 12 years. “Work on their shooting, they have the right technique. They know what they can do with the basketball. Work on your passing, work on your dribbling just with the ball in the driveway.”

Herbert added that he and the other UBCO Heat players/coaches can help,  but they don’t make players.

“We can give guidelines and help them become really good players,” said Herbert, adding that team practices help players develop by 25 per cent. “If you want to become a player, it depends what you do with the other 75 per cent.”

Herbert likes what he has seen from the older and younger players. Among the group was Karter Fry, entering Grade 6.

“He’s very talented for his age group,” he said.

Fry, 11, loves basketball and was encouraged by his parents to go to the camp, saying it’s a great one to go to. Fry, who also plays soccer, tennis and golf loves basketball because it allows him to run. He has been impressed with the camp, especially because the exercises have pushed the players.

“I think it’s helping a lot of people with their dribbling, shooting and defensive skills,” said Fry, with sweat on his face. “It’s a pretty hard camp. I’ve really liked our shooting drills. We go around these cones and then shoot the basketball.”

When a player loses a drill, Fry said they have to run two suicides (running to and from a starting line).

Among the challenging drills was dribbling the ball low around the cones.

“That was really fun,” he said. “It’s actually pretty hard too. You have to go around with your head up and try to pick up the cones and flip them.”

Fred Fedorak, who organized the camp, said it’s been fantastic having Herbert, who replaced UBC Thunderbirds coach Kevin Hanson, to work with the players.

“When he’s demonstrating any skill in basketball, his background knowledge is tremendous,” said Fedorak. “To get him telling stories about his experiences over in Europe coaching, they are entertaining and unbelievable.”

There has been an adjustment process for Herbert, who was an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors in 2008-09, currently coaching professionally in Germany.

“Coming in I had no idea what the skill level was,” said Herbert, who has enjoyed the new experience. “As a coach, I have to adjust what we’re doing to their skill level. The main thing is to teach fundamentals, teach skill development.”

Herbert said if asked, he would come back to work the camp.

One player who has enjoyed learning from him is Prabh Chahal, who is entering Grade 9 at Princess Margaret.

“The new coach here, Gordon Herbert has taught me a lot so far,” said Chahal, enjoying his fourth camp. “It always makes me better every year.”

Heading into the camp, Chahal wanted to work on his shooting and dribbling and he has seen just that.

“The coaching is awesome,” he said.

Jas Sahota, entering his senior year as a Mustang, has enjoyed his third camp. He was determined to tune up his game by improving his ball handling, passing and explosiveness.

“It’s been going great,” he said. “All about getting to the basket and exploding. That’s what I came to work on.”

The girls camp is scheduled for Aug. 12 to 15. To register, go to www.members.shaw.ca/flfedorak/index.html.