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Gibbs, camp draws top achievers
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When it comes to giving back to the community, Karen Gibbs is a good start.

On Monday, Gibbs - a teacher and girls basketball head coach at Clements Middle School - hosted the annual Top Achievers Girls Basketball Camp (grades 1-12), which kicked off its first of three weeks at the Newton County Recreation Commission.

"We had a wonderful group of individuals participate in the camp," Gibbs said, "and we just had a lot of fun."

Of course, getting help from the county recreation commission, local high school coaches, current collegiate players and a former NBA all star certainly doesn't hurt.

Antonio Davis, a retired NBA player and former president of the NBA Players Association, was the main attraction.

In 17 seasons, Davis averaged 10.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. Throughout his career he played for the Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks.

Besides Davis, an abundance of talent - including former Newton High and current Georgia standout Brittany Carter (2006-2007 All-County Player of the Year) - gathered to assist approximately 65 youngsters at the individual camp.

 Anthony Avery, assistant director of the Newton County Recreation Commission, along with numerous staff members, also welcomed the eager and enthusiastic participants.

Joining the recreation crew were coaches Tiffani Johnson (Newton High), Kidada Holtzclaw (Alcovy High) and Virgil Lewis, assisted by their basketball staff.

Camp attendees received trophies and T-shirts. However, the action is just beginning, as there remain two more sessions.

This week focuses on shooting and fundamentals, while the following week will concentrate on dribbling and defense.

Both will be held at Clements Middle School.

As for Gibbs, she established the camp because she was frustrated by the lack of fundamentals portrayed on the court from young players.

"The success of our children in Newton County is very important to me," Gibbs said. "Introducing basketball at a young age, and tapping into that success, is a very good feeling."

Gibbs was a member of the 1982-1983 Cousins undefeated basketball squad (16-0). Ironically, her daughter, Olivia, is coming off a 16-0 season at Clements.

In 2004, she teamed with Tommy Hailey, director of the Newton County Recreation Commission, and hasn't slowed down since.

"Tommy has been a tremendous help with all of (this) and we cannot thank him enough for everything that he does," Gibbs praised.

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