To help bridge the gap between summer and the upcoming school year, Thompson native Femi Dimeji is running a basketball development program Aug. 19-30 at the Bill Comaskey Wellness Centre.
Calling this new project Level Up Basketball Camp, not to be confused with a similarly named operation in Nanaimo, B.C., Dimeji told the Thompson Citizen that he and his friends are aiming to help kids aged 4-17 further their skill and knowledge of the game.
The 23-year-old said that this kind of hands-on programming is in short supply in Thompson, which, as a result, forces ambitious athletes to seek out these services elsewhere in the province.
“But why not just have something that’s in Thompson, something that’s locally run by people who live here, and who really understand everything?” he said.
Dimeji is no stranger to the local basketball scene, having played four years of ball for the R.D. Parker Collegiate Trojans. He was even named senior male athlete of the year right before graduating from high school in June 2014.
Now, after spending several years coaching in Brandon, Demiji is looking to giving back to the community that helped him develop as an athlete and as an adult.
“If I hadn’t been playing basketball I really don’t know where I’d be right now,” he said. “It kept me out of a lot of trouble over the years.”
In terms of who this program is aimed at, Demiji said he and his fellow coaches are accepting of all skill levels and will be teaching the fundamentals of the sport along with some advanced techniques.
“As long as you’re improved from day one that’s all we’re hoping to achieve,” he said. “Whether it’s breaking out of your shell and being more personable, whether it’s being able to sink a free throw or whether it’s being able to dribble with both hands.”
If all goes well during this initial test run Demiji said he would like to run this program every summer, since he said it’s important for these young athletes to stay sharp even in the off season.
“Because all it takes is one growth spurt, one summer where they take everything in, and all of a sudden they’re a top prospect.”
Currently, Level Up Basketball Camp has a maximum of 90 spots available, or 30 for every age group (4-7, 8-12, 13-17).
To learn more about this program please contact Dimeji at 204-596-6360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.