Benton Harbor basketball players participate in $1 camp with the - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Benton Harbor basketball players participate in $1 camp with the pros


For just one dollar, kids in Benton Harbor are getting the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to brush up on their basketball skills. The coaches? Former NBA and college basketball stars.

But organizer and former NBA player, Mateen Cleaves says there's more to the camp than the performance on the court. "It's not just about basketball. Basketball is the draw, that's to get the kids through the door."

Tuesday hundreds of young basketball players showed up for the "One Goal. One Passion." summer camp and Cleaves says they will leave with more than basketball skills.  "We want the kids to walk away knowing how to set goals, knowing how to plan things-life planning, learn how to eat different, learn nutrition."

He's at the head of the class for the three day camp, along with other big college and professional basketball names. "It helps when kids know a name, when they know that he played in the NBA or a guy played at Michigan State."

And these kids DO know the names, that's why they came, to learn from people they look up to, like Cleaves. 

"I heard his story on the Big 10, about how he won a ring, you know he got injured and came back to the game, so I was pretty excited to meet him," says Jonathon James a senior basketball player.

"I saw it as an opportunity to get better," says player Malik Hall.

Cleaves says he relates to these kids, he wants them to know they can make it big too! "I want the kids to understand that I'm from the same area that you're from. I'm from the same state that you're from and I went through some of the same challenges."

That's a big reason why he chose to host his first camp here in Benton Harbor. "I've got a lot of respect for this city, there's been some great basketball players come out of Benton Harbor."

And he says by the looks of it, these kids could go far.

Around 200 kids are taking advantage of this camp and registration is only one dollar. The camp continues through Thursday.

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