57°F
weather icon Clear

Basketball players ‘Duke’ it out

This summer, Boulder City’s young basketball players hit the court with the NCAA champions at the Duke Basketball Camp.

Held at Duke University, the five-day camp allows basketball players from the ages of 9-17 to sharpen their skills with drills, stations, games and tips from collegiate and NBA-level players.

Attending the June 12-17 camp were Boulder City High School sophomores Carson Balistere and Tanner Montgomery, and eighth-grader Gavin Balistere. They were accompanied by Boulder City High School head basketball coach John Balistere.

Balistere said he hopes his players get a lot more out of the camp than just basketball.

“I think it’s good for them to get so many different angles of the game from all the different coaches, ’cause obviously we all have a different philosophy and perspective on it,” he said.

His son, Carson, attended the camp for the eighth time this year. Carson said it’s the best thing ever to be able to interact with all the players and coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“I just take away that I get better, and I become a better person by all the speeches and how the players come out and talk to you and they’re like, ‘You need to do this if you want to be successful,’ and that just really hits me right in the heart,” Carson said.

But for Carson the most memorable moment came when Krzyzewski pulled him aside and told him that he wanted Carson to sit next to him in the picture with Duke’s five national trophies.

Every team, which is divided by age, got to take a picture with Krzyzewski and the trophies this year, instead of just getting autographs as in prior years. This year, they had to retire autograph sessions because of abuse by people not affiliated with the camp.

John Balistere said he believes the Duke Basketball Camp is the greatest camp in the country. Between the hands-on work and the involvement of Krzyzewski, he said the players get so much out of attending.

Montgomery experienced the camp for the first time this year, and said he took home some important life lessons, including many from former Duke player Nolan Smith, who spoke to the players. Montgomery said the things he learned from Smith are the most memorable from camp.

“Going the extra mile will mean more than maybe hanging out with your friends,” Montgomery said. “Reading a book instead of going out with your friends for a couple hours will mean more to your life later.”

Even though the Balistere brothers were on separate teams, they said they enjoyed being able to share the experience with one another.

“I like being there with my brother,” Carson said. “It’s kind of cool to watch him play and interact with kids his age.”

Besides enjoying the camp with his brother, Gavin said he loved being able to meet and experience camp with kids from all over the United States. This was Gavin’s fifth year attending.

John Balistere has worked the camp for 14 years, helping the team of the oldest boys at different drill stations.

“Certainly as a dad, it’s pretty awesome to be there with your boys,” he said.

The Balistere family has known Krzyzewski for 16 years, and John Balistere said he finds himself stealing some of his coaching tactics to integrate into his own coaching.

John Balistere said Krzyzewski always mentions three key ingredients to success: Always play hard, play smart and play together.

“I steal stuff all the time from Coach. If you’re going to be a good coach, you have to put your ego to the side,” Balistere said. “The relationship with your players has always been the most important thing to me, and I think Coach has taught me a lot of good ways to connect and kind of complete the circle with your players to get the most out of them.”

Contact Rochelle Richards at BCRsports@gmail.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Pioneer spirit lingers in Grafton, Utah

Although Grafton, Utah, is just a few miles off the main road to Zion National Park, it seems worlds removed from the park’s bustle. It’s quite possible you’ll be the only visitor as you stroll among Grafton’s historic buildings, mature deciduous trees and open meadows with views of Zion.

Trip to Banshee Canyon short but adventurous

The Rings Trail to Banshee Canyon is a short but adventurous outing in California’s Mojave National Preserve. It offers the unique challenge of navigating a narrow slot canyon using ring bolts to aid you, on both the descent and the return.

Leaf-peeping opportunities plateau in Utah

A chill is in the air in the Southwest’s high elevations, and fall foliage season is upon us. One of the best ways for Southern Nevadans to enjoy it this month is to head up to the Markagunt Plateau, just east of Cedar City, Utah.

Slot canyons, rock formations highlight visit to Grand Staircase Escalante

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, located in south central Utah, was established in 1996 and currently encompasses about 1 million acres. It boasts some of the Southwest’s most impressive scenery, accessible not only by traveling its scenic byways and backways but also by setting out on foot. Besides its waterways, arches and other fabulous rock formations it is also home to spectacular canyons, including hundreds of slot canyons.

Navajo park provides monumental sights

One of the most picturesque places in the world is practically at our doorstep: the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Located on the border of Utah and Arizona, the park boasts buttes, mesas, spires, pinnacles and arches, arranged in some of the finest panoramic views on Earth.

Flaming Gorge known for fiery scenery, water activities

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, located in southwestern Wyoming and northeastern Utah, makes an ideal summer destination for those seeking cool weather, stunning scenery or lots of water-related activities. It’s about a nine-hour drive from Boulder City, but rewards the effort with remarkable opportunities to fish, boat, raft, hike, camp or just drive the scenic roads.

More scenery, less crowds: Summer ‘grand’ time to visit canyon’s North Rim

If you are planning a visit to Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona — and most people do have that visit on their bucket lists — you might consider aiming at the North Rim instead of the better-known South Rim. This area of the park, accessed via the Arizona Strip, gets only about 10 percent the number of visitors who crowd the South Rim.

Tufa give Mono Lake its unique look

Mono Lake is located just east of the Sierra Nevada Range by the small town of Lee Vining, California, the eastern gateway to Yosemite National Park. Seeing it is a uniquely Western experience and summer is the time to see it.