Hot Shot basketball camps returning to Park City
July 5, 2011
Carson Sofro can relate to basketball players in Park City.
Standing at 6-foot-8, Sofro grew up in a ski town of Sun Valley, Idaho, where basketball wasn’t exactly the most popular sport, he said. After playing collegiate basketball, then in the National Basketball Association Development League (NBDL) and the International Basketball League (IBL), he wanted to further the game of basketball his own way.
So in 2007, Sofro started a clinic called the Hot Shot Basketball Camp in his hometown of Sun Valley.
Fast forward four years and Sofro’s small-town clinic has boomed into one of the most popular youth basketball clinics in the country. In the last four years, Sofro said, the camps have had more than 1,500 participants and are the fastest growing youth-basketball program in the country.
"We’re just continuing to double in size," he said. "We’re going to get upward of 25 camps next summer."
The Hot Shot Basketball Camp will return to Park City for the second straight year July 18-21. Sofro said Park City is one of his favorite locales because the range of kids the camp features kindergarten through 12th grade are as eager to play as any place he’s been.
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"We like to go to areas where not only are there not a lot of basketball camps going on, but there’s certainly no camps like ours," he said. "I was a very big fish in a small pond, kind of like some of the kids in Park City growing up. You leave that bubble and get out in the real world with the hard work, the dedication and the reality check which comes along with basketball."
Sofro said his camps stand out due to the fact his fellow coaches are either professionals or former professionals.
"None of the coaches are high school coaches," he said. "We don’t hire the 12-dollar-an-hour guys just to fill space.
"We just did a camp in Houston and we had 11 coaches; we only had one coach that wasn’t a pro at one time. We are known for having the lowest player-to-coach ratio in the nation at 8-to-1."
He said coaches will instruct children to their level of skill and never ask them to play higher than their abilities. Sofro said during one camp in Dallas, Texas, he had a group of kids who couldn’t dribble a basketball, but after proper instruction over a course of three days, that changed pretty quickly.
"It is in no way easy," Sofro said. "We assume that everyone can come to our program and would like the opportunity to play at the next level, whatever that may be."
Right now, Hot Shot Basketball Camps are based in California, Idaho, Utah, Texas, Oregon and Washington.
Sofro said a couple weeks ago there were about 35 kids at the camp in Dallas. Last week, there were 185 participants in the Boise clinic.
"It’s just all about putting some mentors on the floor with some kids and teaching them how to play basketball," he said. "It’s not every day you get to work out with a bunch of pro basketball players."
Each stop is benefited by the camps, Sofro said. When the camp rolls is held at Park City High School, a portion of the registration fees will go to the school.
Utah Jazz guard Ronnie Price and former University of Utah star Johnnie Bryant, who now plays professionally in Europe, will be among just a couple of the coaches who will be here in Park City July 18-21.
When asked if he expected his small-town clinic in snowy Sun Valley to take off, Sofro said, "The whole thing is kind of funny because we never thought it’d get like this. We’ve had kids from Indonesia and Egypt; people are finding out about us all over the world."
For more information on the camp or to register go to http://www.hsbcamps.com .