A recent trip to Atlanta proved fruitful for the young basketball players of the Carolina Shooting Stars and the VIC Sims Academic and Athletic Association.
The Columbia-based basketball programs took three groups of boys, ages 8, 12 and 15 to the J-Smoove Youth Basketball Camp, on the campus of Morehouse College, earlier this month. Two athletes, Breland Powe and Rodney Dove, earned Most Valuable Player awards at the three-day camp hosted by Atlanta Hawks player Josh Smith.
"We're trying to get these guys to play at a level that other states are playing at, so that we'll start to have some more kids making it to the college programs, being recruited," said Shooting Stars coach Ken Legette.
"It turns out we stack up pretty well," he said.
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Powe, 12, was named MVP of the NBA division for his age group. Dove, 15, won the camp's overall MVP award.
"The camp was pretty fun and I got to meet a lot of other good players and coaches," Dove said. "I was looking to see what I need to work on, like if they were shutting me down I would know that I needed to get stronger and work more on my shooting."
The Shooting Stars and VIC Sims programs are open to all Columbia-area youth and aim to "shape the futures of young men by connecting athleticism and essential life skills, according to coach Marvin Chattman.
"Connecting with our youth on the court opens the lines of communication and the opportunity to build strong character traits such as discipline, dedication commitment and cooperation. Without even knowing it, they learn invaluable life skills, how to set and manage goals," Chattman said.