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Local youths shoot some hoops

Boys & Girls Club hosts Lakers Youth Foundation clinics

Posted: July 27, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 27, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Timothy Stayman, 10, shouts "shot" as he runs a defensive drill at the Lakers Youth Foundation basketball clinic held at the Boys & Girls Club in Newhall on Thursday.

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Yelling, jumping and, occasionally, hitting the hardwood, more than 80 children turned out for basketball clinics in the gym at the Boys & Girls Club of the Santa Clarita Valley on Thursday.

As about two dozen parents watched from the bleachers, children ages 7-12 went through drills, practiced footwork and honed their fundamentals from 10 a.m. to noon during a clinic sponsored by Jersey Mike’s.

As children lined up against the gymnasium wall to take a turn at practicing their defensive skills, Jonathan Brotz, a 12-year-old Sierra Vista student, said he was looking forward to a rare summer lesson plan, as he waited for his turn to run out and practice defense.

“I wanted to learn some new things about basketball,” Jonathan said, “and work on my skills a little bit.”

The children were instructed by Daryl Roper, a former longtime hoops coach at Crossroads High School, where he coached current NBA players Austin Croshere and Baron Davis.

Roper is an organizer for the Lakers Youth Foundation, which also brought several coaches from an L.A.-based nonprofit started by Davis.

“The programs here are great,” said Alicia Calderone, who was watching her 10-year-old son Hayden from the stands. “Especially now that it’s summer, it’s really good for the kids.”

The experience is an especially rewarding one for Roper, who said he’s put on more than two dozen clinics this year with the foundation.

A Boys & Girls Club alumnus himself, Roper remembers his first exposure to hoops as an 11-year-old at an East Los Angeles club — long before he hit a 6-inch growth spurt in high school and went on to play basketball professionally overseas.

“Being able to take kids from as young as age 5, and to be able to potentially give them their first experience with basketball, that’s just an incredible opportunity for me.”

psmith@the-signal.com

661-287-5526

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