Just as getting a jump shot down or boxing out requires a lot of time and dedication, so does putting together an event.
After months of planning, working and organizing, former Brooklyn Net and Baylor star Cory Jefferson was back at his alma mater for the first annual Cory Jefferson Youth Basketball Camp at the Killeen High gym on Saturday.
“The main thing is we have to find a gym in order to have the camp,” Jefferson said. “Then we have to find people to help, find the basketballs, the food, the drinks, people to help serve and a lot goes into it.
“We’re trying to make sure they learn something from this.”
The free camp was held for children ages 7 to 17 and stressed fundamentals such as shooting, ball-handling and defense. The coaches at the camp also included Killeen ISD royalty in TaShawn Thomas and Royce O’Neale along with former Baylor star and current Sacramento Kings forward Quincy Acy.
Jefferson always told himself that if he got to the NBA, he would come back to Killeen and put on a camp to give back.
And the sight of children dribbling basketballs and hearing the pounding of hardwood and the squeaking of sneakers was something to savor.
“It just feels really good,” Jefferson said. “Seeing the kids here, having fun and seeing the smiles on their faces. Just trying to give back is the biggest thing right there, just knowing that everybody is having fun and having my friends here to help me is a big
thing for me.”
Jefferson first made a name for himself as a Kangaroo when he helped Killeen to three consecutive 30-win seasons. As a senior in 2008-09, Jefferson earned the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 4A Player of the Year honors.
He went on to star at Baylor where he averaged 13 points and eight rebounds as a senior and helped the Bears reach the Sweet 16 during the 2013-14 season.
In the 2014-15 NBA season, Jefferson played in 50 games averaging 3.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per contest. The Nets went 38-44 and reached the NBA playoffs before losing to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round.
The 6-foot-9, 218-pound power forward, was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the 2014 draft and had his rights traded to the Nets the following day.
For Jefferson, the day at the Roos gym surrounded by kids was special, but he doesn’t plan for the event to be one-and-done.
“I definitely want to do this every year or every year I can,” Jefferson said.