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Eastside Eagles basketball hosts youth camp to connect with the community
EHS Basketball Youth camp
Current and former Eastside players assisting kids in the Eagles' youth camp on Wednesday, June 5. - photo by Garrett Pitts

The Eastside Eagles basketball program hosted its three-day youth camp last week from Monday, June 3 to Wednesday, June 5.

In what was head coach Dorrian Randolph’s third youth camp hosted with the team, the goal stayed the same — connecting with the county.

“Trying to build a relationship between Eastside and the community,” Randolph said. “This is the third year we have done it. Each year we have had consistent numbers. We are just trying to build it [the program] up and let the community know we are here for them.”

Getting the kids involved with the team at a young age and letting them see the school and the players were ways Randolph felt could heighten the brand of Eastside basketball and bring more people’s attention to the program.

“[It] also is about trying to reach out to some of the young kids, so they can see the high school kids. We have some of the players who volunteered and worked in the camps, so kids get to see and know the players,” Randolph said. “Build that connection — probably attend some of our games, which helps improve attendance. Just trying to build that bridge from Eastside to the community, to let them know that we are here.”

EHS Basketball Youth camp 2024
- photo by Garrett Pitts

As for the specifics of the camp, Randolph wanted to ensure each kid left the camp as a better ball-handler than they arrived.

“I am a big proponent that everyone needs to know how to handle the ball,” Randolph said. “Similar to the European concept. We watched the European kids — they are more fundamentally skilled than Americans, and it has proven in the world in the NBA and all that. We are starting it at an early age, to get kids to understand the importance of dribbling. 

“Everyone sees Steph [Curry] and wants to shoot, but everyone is not going to be able to shoot like that. Being able to dribble the ball is very important. We also work on sportsmanship. Learning how to win and learning how to lose.”

Another key from Randolph on the event was the help he received from a few of his former players who just graduated.

Former players Trebor Edwards and Larry Rivers volunteered to help in the youth camp, along with active players such as Josiah Johnson.

“That’s what it is all about,” Randolph said. “In the long run, it shows that you meant something to them. This is straight volunteering. They can be out doing something else but they volunteered their time, and they love it. They love when the little kids look up to them. For example, I told the kids that Trebor was coming and he got a standing ovation. It is amazing to know that the kids, as young as they are, actually know who he is. They bond with the kids, the seniors and the players did a great job of trying to instill the kind of culture we have at Eastside.

“I always want my kids to come back. It can be 10 years from now — if they played for me, we are always family, my doors are always open for them to come volunteer at the camp, speak at the camp, help in the drills, be a referee and help teach what we taught them.”