BY ED WRIGHT
June 30, 2010, 11:45 p.m.
With 130 basketballs bouncing at once Wednesday afternoon, the northwest corner of High Velocity Sports sounded like a giant hot-air popcorn machine.
School may be out, but learning -- both about hoop and life skills -- was the name of the game at the Detroit Pistons Youth Summer Basketball Camp.
"We not only want the kids to improve their basketball skills this week, but we teach them about moral skills, too -- things like keeping their room clean, respecting their parents, things like that," said Pistons representative Joe McElroy.
The high-energy camp was engineered by Steve Moreland, the Pistons' director of development and basketball camps/clinics.
Using an enthusiastic approach, Moreland guided the 130 campers through a well-organized series of drills, games and competitions.
Moreland was assisted by a staff that included several current college basketball players.
"One of the neat things about this job is that some of the kids who are helping me now started out in the camp when they were in first or second grade," said Moreland, the brother-in-law of Canton High School assistant girls basketball coach and Hall of Famer Bob Blohm.
"We talk about life skills almost as much as we talk about basketball skills," Moreland continued.
One of the highlights of Wednesday's four-hour session was a hotly contested game of "Hot Shot", which required players to make as many shots as they could in 30 seconds from two designated spots on the court.
The two finalists in each age bracket squared off in dramatic showdowns with their peers cheering every jumper.
The eventual champions were awarded trophies - after they shook hands with their counterpart.
Several celebrities spoke to the campers this week, including longtime Pistons trainer Mike Abdenour, ex-Piston Earl Cureton and former Michigan State University standout Pat Miller.
Thursday's final session of the four-day camp will include the presentation of several awards, including MVP, Most Improved and the Hustle award.
This week's camp marked the 15th consecutive year the Pistons have offered a clinic in the Plymouth/Canton area.
The Pistons' next nearby four-day camp will be held Aug. 2-5 at Brighton High School. If campers mention PlymouthCantonSports.com while registering for this camp, they will receive a $50 coupon that can be used toward the $179 registration fee.
The camps are designed for boys and girls who are going into first grade through seniors-to-be in high school.
For more information, visit www.DetroitPistons.com and click on the camps/clinics link.
Ed Wright can be reached at (734) 453-1980 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
a quick break between drills Wednesday afternoon at High Velocity
Sports. (photo by Ed Wright)
A camper waits for the whistle in the "Hot Shot" competition.