BELLE GLADE — Eight talented high school basketball players have been given the opportunity of a lifetime, after recently being selected by former NBA players to participate in a national All-Star camp.
Amari Spirvey (junior, Pahokee High School), Ja’Kyler Washington (junior, Pahokee High School), Lon’teria McFadden (junior, Pahokee High School) and India Shepherd (freshman, Pahokee High School) will travel to Paterson, New Jersey to enhance their skill and passion for the sport of basketball, along with Willie Canty (junior, Glades Central High School), Dejuan Miller (junior, Glades Central High School), Jamar McClain (sophomore, Glades Central High School) and Thometrius Moore (junior, Pahokee High School) who will attend the same camp the following week, for young men.
All travel expenses will be generously covered by the Palm Beach County Police Athletic League and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Foundation, according to press releases.
Both companies are non-profit, charitable organizations that instill trustworthy bonds between adolescents and law enforcement; by coordinating recreational programs where youths develop life skills that impact themselves and their communities.
“We want these kids to understand that everybody’s rooting for them, we hope that whatever experiences they get they can be an example for those that are younger,” stated Malcolm McCampbell, Director of Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Foundation. “They are going to make success out of their life whether it’s here in Belle Glade or it’s somewhere else.”
Freshman India Shepherd of Pahokee High School expressed, “It feels great, [I] just have to keep up the hard work.”
Shepherd is the youngest of the players, and has seen improvements within herself even before her freshman year of high school has begun.
Shepherd’s teammate Lon’teria McFadden, Pahokee High Junior, also added, “I feel excited, it’s a new experience. I hope that we can stick as a team.. I just hope we give it our all and never give up.”
On average, all the players put in at least three to four hours a day during open gym practice; enduring intense training that only serves to benefit themselves as student athletes.
Glades Central High School basketball coach Kenneth Torrence accompanied the boys at the check presentation held in the Boys and Girls Club Gym of Belle Glade.
Coach Torrence, who is also a Corrections Deputy with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, has coached three of the four young men that were selected for the national All-Star Camp.
“All of them have improved tremendously, they are focused, they love the game, they want to learn,” said Coach Torrence. “I have such a love and passion for what I do, and I owe it to them.”
These players were chosen out of 200 other high school athletes from a camp held at Glades Central High School named Ball Stars Youth Camp, in which former NBA All-Stars Otis Birdsong and Micheal Ray Richardson noticed the eight star-athletes bringing their full potential to the court.
Thometrius Moore, a Pahokee High junior, spoke highly of the camp.
”It helped me become a better person, stay humble, [and] to play as a team, don’t play as one person,” he explained.
Since that camp, the door has been opened for these talented young athletes to an incredible opportunity that not all student athletes come across; and the players indeed look forward to it.