A basketball breakthrough in Coalville
July 17, 2012
When Mike Grant opened an Internet browser to look for a fresh approach to bringing basketball to Coalville, he stumbled upon a popular camp led by a one-time NBA scout who has worked with a number of current professional players.
The youth camp, known as Breakthrough Basketball, is popular across the United States and has been a hardwood staple in metropolises such as Chicago, Miami and Boston.
After contacting Breakthrough Basketball, Grant gave his sales pitch. The director of youth basketball with the North Summit Recreation Department, Grant offered to host one of the camps and touted Coalville as a unique, centralized spot in the Western United States.
"They had never really done a camp on this side of the country before," Grant explained. "So we tried it, set it up, started advertising and before you knew it, we had kids from all over. We had kids from nine states last week."
The coed camp, which was held July 12-14, featured athletes, ages 12 to 18, from states such as Utah, Colorado, California, Idaho, Montana, Texas and even Minnesota. In total, 54 young athletes participated in the Breakthrough Basketball camp headed by former NBA scout Don Kelbick.
With 27 years of coaching experience, including stops at Hofstra University and Florida International University, Kelbick has also been watching for NBA talent in his time coaching and teaching basketball.
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According to Grant, Kelbick ran his three-day camp at the North Summit Middle School like a pro.
"It was 100 percent drills," Grant said. "Most of the drills were pretty much ball-handling drills. He had them dribbling around chairs, pivoting around chairs, and these are drills that players can go home to simulate and do on their own."
Grant said the camp went from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, and not once did the players tip-off at midcourt. Breakthrough Basketball preaches fundamentals, and it delivered.
"The thing that impressed me about the camp is most of the camps you go to nowadays, most of them are game-oriented, as in you learn an hour of skills and play games the rest of the time," he said. "This camp had no games. We had no scrimmage time. It was 100 percent work hard, run and do skill drills. And the kids were not allowed to walk.
"From the first day, Don said, ‘Nobody walks in my gym,’ and they didn’t. He made them work. After the last day of camp, I passed out comment cards at the end, and many of the kids said, ‘He made us work hard.’"
The camp, according to Grant, turned out to be much more successful than first anticipated. After the deadline to sign up passed last week, the waiting list piled higher and higher, which says something about Grant’s instinct in bringing a predominately East Coast organization to the small mountain town of Coalville.
"Overall, it was very good," he said. "Before the camp, I was really nervous, because you look on the Internet and you don’t always know what you’re going to get. Anyone can put anything on there."
Grant said about 20 student-athletes from Coalville and Henefer were in attendance, including many members of the North Summit High School boys and girls basketball teams. Coaching staffs from both the high school programs were involved with the camp and helped Kelbick.
Kelbick, who has coached NBA players such as Carlos Arroyo, Raja Bell and Rasual Butler was a hit in Coalville. Between drills, he walked around from group to group asking how the players were handling the camp.
"During his lunch break, he would help kids out with their shooting," Grant said. "The guy was excellent."
Coalville is no Miami or Chicago, but Grant said he feels like, judging from the turnout and effort involved this year, a potential return for Breakthrough Basketball is possible next summer.
"There were kids in attendance that watched what was going on and said, ‘Man, I wished I would have signed up for this camp,’" he said.