Metairie, La. -- The New Orleans Pelicans held a youth basketball camp Wednesday afternoon, following their practice, as part of the league's Junior NBA Week. Around 70 students from Sixth Ward Elementary came out to the Ochsner Sports Performance Center to learn the fundamentals of basketball from Pelicans players and coaches. The kids went through drills at each basket with the team, and got the chance to interact with the players at the training facility.
“It's the Junior NBA and I think it’s a great program," said Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry. "I really do. It exposes the kids to basketball but I think more-so than anything, it gives them an opportunity to be up-close and personal with the players-- be able to talk to them and I think it can be nothing but a positive to come out of that.”
“Yeah, it’s fun—to see their reaction when they first see you," said Pelicans forward Anthony Davis. "That was pretty cool."
It was a fun time for the students and NBA players alike, and while Davis met with the media, he joked around with Coach Gentry, who was standing next to him, saying, "Coach has got to be better I think with the kids—Oh, what’s up Coach! I didn’t see you right there! No, but I love having the kids here. They’re amazing.”
The Jr. NBA Training Camp is just one part of a larger-scale effort across the league through the Jr. NBA program, which emphasizes and encourages kids to live an active and healthy lifestyle through youth basketball.