Riddick’s “Stars of Tomorrow” basketball camp making positive impact

Lorene Riddick last played college basketball years ago, but his passion for the game draws him back to the court each year.

While he’s not playing professionally or on the collegiate level, he’s still striving to make an impact on those youngsters playing the game. For more than 10 years now his Stars of Tomorrow camp gives young players the chance to learn the basics of the game and pick up valuable lessons in life.

Riddick and several assistant coaches started the free camp at Everett Recreation Center. “The guys who came down were old teammates, and we had several runs in the NCAA tournament. All the guys enjoy giving back,” he said.

Over the years the event has grown from that first year. More than 100 players attended the clinic this year, Riddick said.

What Riddick gets out of it is intangible, he said. “The biggest thing for me really is a lot of parents came up and are very appreciative that we get together and do this. I feel weird that I get more out of it than they do. It’s planting a good seed, and it helps a kid have a momentary bit of happiness for the rest of their life or, if they learn something for a real life application, on the court or off, that’s the thing.”

Riddick said there are participants he and his assistants have had in camp four or five times, and they’re either in high school or college. “They let me know they appreciate it. I like doing that. I’ve got a passion to coach basketball, and we all know unless you’re Bruce Pearl, you’re not paying bills on a coach’s salary,” he said. “It’s giving back and sowing good seeds. I love it.”

Riddick said the event wouldn’t have been possible with the support of sponsors. Sponsors for the 2008 Starts of Tomorrow basketball camp include Chick-fil-A; Papa Johns, Maryville Alcoa Blount County Parks and Recreation, Alletha Pearce Insurance, Flannigan and Son Roofing and the Lorene Riddick Team.

For the third year in a row Riddick will hold a mini-camp experience in the Children’s Area at the Foothills Fall Festival on Saturday Oct. 11. The next Stars of Tomorrow basketball camp will be July 2009.

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