HOLLYWOOD — Jason Billie figured the lengthy holiday break for kids would be an ideal opportunity to offer them full days of basketball instruction.
So in late December and early January, Billie ran an all-day basketball holiday camp offered tribalwide at the Howard Tiger Recreation Center in Hollywood.
Billie said the results for the first-time camp were mixed. He was thrilled with the participants, but wished more kids would have filled up the court.
“Ups and downs,” he said while taking a break from the camp on its final day Jan. 4. “First day we had 17; yesterday we only had nine; today we had 14. As many kids as we have here in basketball tournaments, I thought we should have had more.”
Those who did attend were treated to instruction and drills on everything ranging from dribbling, passing, shooting, defense, sprints and other aspects, all which Billie hopes will make the kids better players and grow their enjoyment of the sport. Time was set aside for mini-games, too.
“The goal is to get them engaged,” said Billie, who played basketball in college, worked at summer camps and provided personal training. “Get the kids involved, get them active instead of just sitting around…”
Most of the kids were ages 6 to 12 and came from Hollywood with a few from Big Cypress and Brighton. Hollywood Recreation site manager Joe Collins said a unique thing about the camp is that it is all basketball, all the time.
“It’s basketball from start to finish,” Collins said. “They run drills all day. They eat lunch with us; snacks in the morning and afternoon. We’re kind of experimenting with it. We’ll do it again at spring break.”
The game plan also includes offering the camp throughout the summer and during other breaks from school.
Billie and Collins said they would like to see improved results from the Tribe’s teams at NAYO, which the Tribe will host this April in Hollywood.
Awards were handed out at the end of the camp in the all-tournament, most valuable player and hustle categories.
Kenneth “KJ” Tommie won the MVP and Mr. Hustle awards on the boys side; Presleigh Osceola-Hahn won the girls MVP and Maddey Huggins was named Miss Hustle.
The all-tournament team was Phillip Frank, Daveny Osceola-Hahn, Ben Purvis, Jamaylah Wilson and Quinton Wilson.