Thanks to the support of his hometown, Brooklyn Nets guard Markel Brown witnessing a lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.
It was only right for him to give back to Alexandria.
Brown held his inaugural elite camp Friday at Peabody to a wide-eyed group of youth.
“I’m blessed to see how many kids showed up,” Brown said. “I didn’t really expect the turnout that we had. We thought that we only would have to use the main gym, but we ended up with so many kids that we had to use both gyms.”
Boys ages 8-16 learned how to take care of their bodies and the fundamentals from coaches supervising the camp. They then had a chance to show what they learned in a 3-on-3 pickup game.
“(It was intense) but it was fun watching the games,” Peabody sophomore Dwight Simon said. “It got a chance to show some of kids what they could do.”
Simon, like many of his Warhorse teammates, was able to sharpen his craft.
“I think the camp was pretty fun,” Simon said. “To me, it helps me work on my fundamentals. Ball handling and shooting drills (mainly).”
While many showed off their skills, incoming Peabody freshman Demetrius Hunter learned another important trait — teamwork.
“I learned how to encourage others and help everybody out who can’t do it all,” Hunter said.
Hunter’s team was close to competing in the final matchup, but he had a chance to affect the game outside of scoring.
“I think I did pretty well out there,” Hunter said. “I was able to hand it to my teammates a little bit and to get the boards.”
With the older campers on the main floor battling to see who ruled the hardwood, the younger campers also learned the basics and how to play the right way from Brown and Peabody head coach Charles Smith.
“I want to thank all the parents that entrusted their young boys to come out and work with Markel in this camp,” Smith said. “It was very successful. We had a chance to teach them the skills of basketball, but we also had a chance to talk to them about life about being good people and productive members of society.”
After a drill, the group of youth watched and gave Smith all of its attention as he talked about the importance of being good, upstanding young men.
“I always tell them, ‘Be the very best person that you can be. When you do that, that helps someone else,’” Smith said. “We got their attention with basketball, now let’s try to put some lifelong skills into them too. And we were able to do that.”