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Former NBA player to hold free basketball youth camp - May 24, 2006

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A four-day free basketball youth camp will be held next month with a former NBA player and coaches from the mainland and Hawaii teaching the NMI youth the basics of the sport.
David Wood, who played for the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors, will be conducting a basketball youth camp from June 5 to 8.
"He will be with several coaches from the US and Hawaii and aside from the players clinic, they will also hold a coaching clinic, which is by invitation only," said Women’s National Team assistant coach and NYBA vice president George Cruz, who is helping the Basketball Association of the Northern Mariana Islands organize the camp.
Cruz had already announced Wood’s arrival last Monday at the championship day of the recently-concluded NYBA Island-wide caging and he received positive response from the kids.
"They are pretty excited. They are looking forward to Wood’s arrival. One player even said he’s excited to see Wood dunk," Cruz said.
In his nine-year career in NBA, the six-foot-11 Wood was known more for his defense. He guarded the likes of Charles Barkley and Karl Malone.
Wood, who also played in Europe and in the Philippines, was a rough player, but when he retired from NBA and became a member of the Athletes in Action, he mellowed down.
Athletes in Action is a Christian group which teaches the youth positive attitudes and the Gospel through basketball.
"David Wood and the coaches will not only be teaching basketball to our youth, but also positive life skills," Cruz said.
"It is character-building through basketball," BANMI vice president Elias Rangamar said in an earlier interview with the Variety.
BANMI members and the Men’s and Women’s National Teams will assist Wood and company during the clinic.
"We want to have as many manpower as we can to ensure that all the kids will be attended to. We want to have a two kids to one teacher ratio in teaching basketball drills," Cruz said.
The youth camp is divided into two age group with the 8 to 12 year olds attending the morning session from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at the Gilbert C. Ada Gym.
The 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. session is for participants age 13 to 17 years old.
Cruz said that they will only accept the first 150 participants in each age group.
Participants must register at the Ada Gym or at the Marianas Health Services office, which is located on the ground floor of Lim’s Bulding in Beach Road, San Jose, to be part of the clinic.
The last day of registration is on Wednesday.
Helping BANMI run the basketball coaching clinics are the Youth With A Mission, Aquarius Beach Tower Hotel, Budget Car Rental, Turning Point and Joeten Motors.
Richard Dankworth, who visited the island early in March, of the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii helped arrange Wood’s trip to Saipan to conduct a clinic.
(Courtesy of Variety News)  

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