SOUTH BEND, Ind. - From Notre Dame to San Antonio, NBA star Blake Wesley returned back home to his roots in South Bend.
Wesley hosted a free basketball youth clinic at his alma mater Riley High School. Yesterday, he coached over two hundred kids teaching them everything from nutrition, endurance, ballhandling, shooting and footwork skills.
“I’ve been talking about hosting a camp even before I got to the NBA. I’m always going to give back to the community because I was once in their shoes. It's nice to give them knowledge,” Wesley said.
Owner and director of IMPACT Basketball Joe Abunassar has helped basketball players, from collegiate, professional and high school, for the last 25 years. He’s been Wesley's coach since high school. Abunassar says Wesley's growth has been tremendous and it’s a testament to his hard work.
“The great thing about Blake is his affiliation and love for his hometown South Bend. He’s one of the very few public-school kids to go to Notre Dame to play a sport. With him coming back to his high school and giving back to his community and having 200 kids come out, I’m just really excited for Blake. It's a very great thing that he comes back and does these things,” Abunassar said.
Wesley says his mother, Leslie wesley, had a huge impact on the planning of the event. She says he’s always been someone who loves to give back.
“I’m still on cloud nine from last year from the time they called his name as the 25th pick, it’s still kind of surreal. I'm so glad to have him back home to do what he wants to do. He loves to give back, he loves to give to the community. Ever since he was small, he’s always been a philanthropist,” Wesley said.
Campers say what they learned will help them both mentally and physically.
“Even if you’re scared, do it anyways. Because even though I was scared of ballhandling, I did it and I felt I got better with confidence. Nutrition food, they taught us a lot about that. I'm going to start eating a little healthier,” A’Myia Hines and Isis Robbins said.
Wesley is hosting another camp today in Elkhart. While registration for the event is closed, Wesley says he can’t wait to do more youth clinic camps in the future.