Local basketball camp to welcome NBA players

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The Starting5 basketball development program in Valencia is hosting a summer camp next week from Aug. 6 to Aug. 9 where kids between the ages of 8 to 16 will have a chance to learn hands-on from current and former NBA players.

Brothers Jrue and Justin Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans and Chicago Bulls, respectively, are confirmed to be in attendance. Starting5 founder and coach Mike Penberthy said more players could join.

“We’ve for sure got Jrue and Justin Holiday, and I’m working on a couple more,” Penberthy said. “It’s tough to nail down an NBA player, but other players I’ve worked with in the past I’ve been communicating with.”

Penberthy, a former Los Angeles Lakers player and current Pelicans assistant coach, established Starting5 two years ago to help teach the fundamentals of basketball to aspiring players in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“We needed a basketball program in the valley that would teach basketball, not just play games,” Penberthy said. “Teaching the skills, the fundamental side is what I’m about. I learned so much as a kid, so I want to provide that here in Santa Clarita and I started it with that purpose in mind.”

Penberthy, who was also a shooting coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2014-15 NBA season, has trained numerous NBA players over the years. He plans on bringing the same coaching style he uses with the professionals to his campers next week.

“The message is the same across the board, so I’ll be teaching exactly what I teach the pros from a fundamental standpoint,” Penberthy said. “Dwyane Wade, Kyle Korver, Paul George, the same message I’ve been giving them I’ll be giving the kids. It applies differently, but the message is the same. They’ll be getting the same coaching I give Anthony Davis and Jrue and my other players.”

What makes Starting5’s summer camp different than most other basketball camps is the intimate environment. Starting5’s camp will consist of about 50 kids, while most other camps have hundreds of kids.

This unique environment will give the campers a chance to work closely with Penberthy, his
coaching staff and the NBA players in attendance.

“I’m not into big camps where you see these NBA players from a distance,” Penberthy said. “We want them to be on top our kids. We want our kids asking them questions and learning from them. Seeing somebody up close that inspires them, makes them want it just a little bit more. ”

Before the campers get firsthand coaching from the Holiday brothers and possibly other professional players, the excitement of their arrival must first wear off.

“There is always a buzz when the NBA players walk into the gym,” Penberthy said. “They get crowded so we have to stop camp and reorganize, but that’s part of the fun and hype of having NBA guys around.”

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