Kevin Johnson Summer Basketball Camp helpingprospects get off to school


Senior Sports Reporter


JERINA Madayag likes what she sees in the Bahamas. That is one of the reasons why she continues to come back year after year to the Kevin 'KJ' Johnson Summer Basketball Camp looking for more and more basketball prospects to take to the US.

All the way from the San Francisco and Los Angeles, California area, Madayag serves as a national scout and recruiter since 2012. She developed a working relationship with coach Kevin 'KJ' Johnson about five years ago and they have been linking up every summer ever since.

"After he found out that I worked with trying to get kids to go to school all over the United States and getting an education using basketball as a platform, we connected and he told me a little bit of what he does here in the Bahamas," said Madayag, known as 'Queen of Nor Cal.'

"So I started to come here to check it out and to see what I can do to help assist some of the kids to get off to school. I was able to help quite a few and I'm looking for a few more to help this year."

Once the players are academically sound and can meet the necessary requirements for school, Madayag said she's interested. That's the reason why she takes the extra time to view them in action as they participate in the camp and the Kevin Johnson Developmental Programme.

"We're always looking for players who are at the developmental stage. We can take kids whether they are division one or prep school. We can still help kids. They just have to have the academic requirements."

During this trip this week, Madayag said she's hoping to secure the opportunity for at least four players to make the trek to the United States. If there are a few more, then she will consider them.

"This is like my fifth or sixth time here to the Bahamas in the past few years and this is great. What Kevin Johnson is doing with these young kids at such a young age is just phenomenal," she pointed out.

"I'm excited and I'm very delighted to be back here. They have always been welcoming to me. So I would rather be here in the gym watching these kids than to be somewhere else on the beach or something like that. So I appreciate you guys having me."

One of the players, Erquantau Edgecombe, a 6-foot, 1-inch forward, is transitioning from Davis College in New York where he spent his freshman year after playing for coach Johnson on his CI Gibson Rattlers senior boys' basketball team a year ago.

"It wasn't bad adjusting to the environment, but it was different coming from the Bahamas," said the 19-year-old Edgecombe. "It was quite an experience playing over there."

Edgecombe, however, said he was thrilled to be back home and watching to see the younger players participate in the camp that he once was a part of, knowing that some of them have the potential as well to follow him in the USA.

"Looking at them, you can see that you can help them a little more," said Edgecombe, one of the campers assisting in the camp that started last week and will be concluded next week.

"I know I've learnt a lot from being a part of the programme and I hope that they will take it all in because at college, there is a lot more man-to-man play and you have to learn to shoot the ball more and pass and stuff like that."

Mark Hanna, one of the chief instructors for the camp, said it has been going quite well with about 90 to 110 participants each day.

"We have some of the former campers who are off to school back here encouraging the campers so that is something they look forward to because a lot of them are trying to get off to school as well," he said.

"It's good that these kids can see that some of the same people who went through the camp are off to school and they can do the same thing. So they are working very hard to follow them."

With Madayag back in town to view a lot of them, Hanna said the players are giving it an extra push to ensure that they can get a chance to be looked at because she's in the gym all day looking at all of them.

"We have a lot of kids from different schools, but we have a lot of teaching to do as far as the fundamentals of the game," he summed up.

"We have to teach them a lot of small things like boxing out and passing the ball.

"But we are confident that by the time the camp is finished next Friday, we would have instilled some of these skills that we hope they can go back to the schools and help their programmes when they play on their teams next year."

The camp runs daily, starting at 9am.


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