Kids learn hoop, life skills at Bill Self basketball camp

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Dreams of making the final shot of a basketball game are in the minds of many kids attending this week’s Bill Self Summer Basketball camp in Lawrence.

Hundreds of kids are attending the three-day camp named after Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball coach Bill Self.

Self is away from Lawrence this year coaching the USA Basketball Under 18 team, so KU players past and present are filling in, offering lessons on – and off – the court.

Every year former and current players come to help coach and inspire the campers.

Former KU Jayhawk Wayne Simien is sharing his skills with students. For Simien, the journey is full circle. He attended the same summer camp from 6th through 12th grade — then earned his way on the team and became the 12th leading scorer at KU

”Now I’m back, coaching some of the other players' kids,” said Simien. 

Campers love meeting the players that they’ve only seen on TV or from the stands at Allen Fieldhouse. Students spend 3 nights in the KU dorm and parents said they believe the experience is preparing students to go to college.

Simien said coaches are teaching basketball but many skills on the court translate into skills campers will need in life — like the value of hard work and teamwork.

Because head coach Bill Self could not attend this year‘s summer camp, former KU Jayhawk player Frank Mason attended and took an individual picture with each camper. Mason was a point guard at KU last year. He is now playing in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings.

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