By Johnnie Hardy
For the youth of Newton County, summer has almost commenced, and high school and middle school sports will soon begin once again.
But for approximately 70-75 young athletes, who recently attended the second annual Top Achievers Basketball Camp sponsored by Clements coach Karen Gibbs, they already have a leg up.
These future stars received instructions from mentors such as former Newton High standout Brittany Carter - who recently transferred from the University of Georgia to Memphis - and Kasha Terry, a 2006 graduate of Georgia Tech and former McDonald's All-American in her fourth year in the WNBA.
Previously, Terry spent her first three years in the WNBA with the Indiana Fever, and recently transferred to the Atlanta Dream along with teammate Chantel Anderson.
A host of impressive coaching experience assisting with the camp included former Newton standouts Tim and John Wyatt and Barry Avery.
Top Achievers provided an excellent forum for the youth to acquire the fundamentals needed to perform at the next level.
Gibbs, an educator and former player herself, is returning from an undefeated 16-0 season.
At the camp, she stressed the importance of defense, evidenced by the many drills and activities, including dribbling, shooting and a myriad of defensive workouts. Footwork, drop-stepping and boxing out was emphasized, as well.
Each week of camp focused on different aspects of the game. The co-ed mixture of mostly girls was quite attentive, and participants were excited about learning and meeting players who have already achieved what many dream about.
Gibbs and her camp staff had many words of encouragement for the young athletes. They were taught the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, as well as the concept of defense playing a major key to winning games.
Gibbs promoted three mottos: attitude is important, defense wins and "when great is possible, good is not good enough."
Parents were just as enthusiastic as the players, citing they would be back come next year. They realized the importance of the camp, knowing that it gave their children valuable individualized attention.
The WNBA players not only gave priceless information and answered questions, but also worked at separate stations, speaking with each camper about the importance of hard work and following dreams.
Participants also received special attention to detail and invaluable knowledge to be used not only in sports but life in general.