Clyde Turner’s basketball camp prepares young players

Former Gophers basketball player Clyde Turner feels good about his work, especially when he receives a letter from a grateful parent, thanking him for their children's experience in one of his summer basketball camps.

For 25 years, Turner has hosted a series of weeklong basketball clinics for low-income children ages 8-16. The camps are located at parks and community centers throughout the city from June 26-Aug. 11.

Children learn about the basics of basketball through daily lessons. The camps have cultivated pro-basketball players, including the Los Angeles Lakers' Devon George and Troy Bell from the New Orleans Hornets. The camps began with classes of 30 children and now draw up to 600 children. More than 9,000 children have participated in the camps since 1981.

Fees are based on a sliding scale.

During the week, children improve fundamental skills, such as shooting, dribbling, passing and defensive footwork. They also work on establishing shots, shooting off a dribble and other techniques. There is also a character-building component to the camp. Children learn to be disciplined, decisive and set goals. At the end of the week, the young players are recognized in an award ceremony for their skills and attitude.

Camps also feature guest speakers who come from a variety of professions to talk about widely ranging topics other than basketball. Turner, who funded his college education with a basketball scholarship, said many of the children who met in one of his camps years ago are still friends. Most continue to play basketball as well.

&#8220I wanted kids to come together, work hard and have a lot of passion in that week,” he said.

To register or learn more about the camps and their locations and times, call 822-7899 or check out