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Tuesday, July 1, 2014
While growing up in North Augusta, Antonio Grant didn’t have the opportunity to attend a basketball camp.
After starring at North Augusta High School and the University of South Carolina, Grant decided to bring a camp to his hometown to give back to his community.
“Once I began to play basketball I wanted to provide a service and give other kids the opportunity to attend a basketball camp,” Grant said of the camp, which took place from June 23 through 26. “Because I played professional basketball, I’m able to share some different levels of experience of basketball with some of the kids. Those are some of the things that I didn’t get as I was growing up.”
While the focus of the camp is on basketball skills, Grant’s camp also teaches life skills that can be transferred to any profession.
“Also, just being able to share life experience – to let these kids know that not everybody is going to be a professional basketball player,” Grant said. “It’s not only basketball, they can be doctors, lawyers, truck drivers, a manager – whatever you choose to do. As long as you’re willing to put in the work and follow through to get to that level.”
Along with dribbling, shooting and passing, Grant teaches the campers about time management and listening, two crucial things for life and the workforce.
“They’re going to take basketball skills away, of course,” he said. “One thing I try to emphasize is time management, whenever we’re doing our drills they know to be at a certain place at a certain time. If they’re not there at a certain time – there’s discipline for that. The same thing with listening, being a good listener is important at the camp. Also, on top of that, teamwork is key. Life is a team sport and basketball can teach you that.”
Grant, who has played professionally in France, Mexico, Lithuania and Taiwan, said his favorite part of the camp is watching the progression of the campers.
“The interaction with the kids and seeing them progress,” he said. “Some of the kids have been coming to the camp for four or five years, so I can see their growth. I can listen and talk to them to see how they’ve grown as individuals and basketball players.”
The Antonio Grant annual basketball camp uses camp counselors from North Augusta, like former Jacket Tavarez Hall, and players from across the country including Gabriel Robinson, a former Armstrong Atlantic State University player, which competes in the Peach Belt Conference against Georgia Regents University and USC Aiken.
“It makes me become a kid again. I remember going to camp to work on my fundamentals as a kid,” Robinson said of the camp. “Now, getting to teach kids about the game of basketball is a blessing. This is something they will take with them the rest of their lives, even if they don’t continue with the game of basketball.”
The camp was held at Riverview Park Activities Center, which Grant called an “excellent” facility for the community.
“I think Riverview Park is a great facility for basketball,” he said. “A lot of parents are comfortable bringing their kids to this facility, because it’s a state-of-the-art facility.”
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for The North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.