Utica – Every so often, our travels as sports journalists take us to places and events that stick in the memory banks (in good ways, of course) for a long, long time.
Saturday afternoon at the Clark Gymnasium on the campus of Utica College, was precisely one of those times.
The Oneida County Youth Bureau and the Utica College men’s basketball program teamed up to offer an absolutely free, two hour youth basketball clinic to kids from all over Oneida County, and beyond.
When the registration table finally cleared, about 175 boys and girls, between the ages of 7 and 18, filled virtually every inch of the hardwood inside Clark Gym for a multi-station, hands on clinic, taught personally by every member of the Utica College Pioneers men’s basketball team.
“What a turnout, this is just fantastic” the always enthusiastic Oneida County Youth Bureau Director Kevin Green told Mid-York Sports Report. “We couldn’t have believed that we’d have this many kids here when we started discussing the idea with (1st year Utica College Men’s Basketball Coach) Sean Coffey and his assistant, Dave Wadas” Greene said, adding, “what an amazing day and what a great show of community spirit by these UC players and coaches giving of their free time to help all these kids learn the game of basketball”.
Today marked the third well attended Oneida County Youth Bureau kids athletic event this year. The bureau teamed up with the Utica Blue Sox last June for a huge baseball clinic at Murnane Field and then a county-wide track meet at MVCC later in the summer.
For Coach Sean Coffey, the turnout from his team was expected, but the amount of kids who came looking for quality hoops instruction was a shocker. “Wow, this is great” Coffey said, adding “We thought we’d have a lot, but not this many, this is something”.
As for the participation from his team, Coach Coffey was not surprised in the slightest. “We have the name Utica embossed across our jerseys, so we as a team intend to participate in the community and putting this event together with Kevin Green is exactly the type of thing we want to do”.
The kids in attendance at today’s clinic, all of which were thrilled with the experience, got first hand instruction in ball handling, shooting, dribbling, layups and overall conditioning, all free of charge. “We’re here to teach you how to be champions” Kevin Greene told the attendees at the outset.
“The way these clinics are going, I think we can definitely expand them and include other sports going forward” Kevin Greene said “the possibilities are endless really”.
Both Coach Coffey and Kevin Greene complimented the efforts of UC Assistant Coach Dave Wadas, a New York Mills native who was instrumental in putting today’s clinic together.
The Utica College basketball team also provided all players in attendance today with discount coupons to be applied at the Pioneers Basketball Camps this coming Summer. In fact a couple of lucky kids went home with free passes to attend the camp. For information on Coach Coffey’s Summer Camp, please visit www.ucpioneers.com for more information.
For upcoming Oneida County Youth Bureau events and activities available to all Oneida County kids throughout the year, please visit www.ocgov.net/youth or call 793-0696.