When he was a kid, Iman Shumpert didn’t attend basketball camps.
“My father never put me into camps,” Shumpert said. “He felt I wasn’t going to get better at some of the camps other guys were attending. Those camps cost a lot of money for guys not to be going hard.”
Last weekend, the Chicago-area baller and NBA guard came home to finally attend a hoops camp – his own.
The Shumpert Youth Basketball Camp took place at his high school alma mater in Oak Park. While the camp was fun-filled with assorted individual and team drills, games and instruction, Shumpert’s primary purpose was to instill a heavily-influenced hometown mindset about the game of basketball.
“I’m trying to teach these kids about having a Huskie Attitude,” Shumpert said, referring to the mascot and mantra of Oak Park and River Forest High School.
The Oak Park native was drafted by the New York Knicks in last year’s draft and carved out a significant playing role with the team before he went down in April with a severe knee injury that ended the remainder of his season.
“I purposely stacked my camp counselors with my high school teammates because I know they are going to help the campers be ultra-competitive,” Shumpert said. “I love to compete and I want to share that competitive nature and love for the game with these kids.”
With three daily sessions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., campers honed their skills at ball handling, shooting and defense stations, along with three-man drills and a spirited 5-on-5 tournament under the watchful observation of Shumpert and recent alumni and coaches from his high school.
The camp featured plenty of intense basketball competition and instruction. But there was also fun time on the agenda for the campers, who ranged from fifth through 10th grade.
Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire made a surprise cameo appearance last Friday. The boys and girls received free gear and had a Q&A with Shumpert.
“One kid asked me if I’ve hung out with [Knicks guard] Jeremy Lin,” Shumpert said with a laugh. “Of course, I have hung out with Jeremy as much as you can. Man, he’s a rock star. He’s like Michael Jackson and I’m the other guy, Tito [Jackson].”
Chase Robinson, an 11-year-old camper, cherished every moment rubbing elbows with an NBA star like Shumpert.
“It’s fun to learn from professional players like Iman and Stoudemire,” Chase said. “LeBron James is my favorite player, but Iman is a great player, too. He plays hard and never gives up on defense.”
Shumpert returned to New York on Sunday to run his second/final camp of the summer in White Plains, N.Y. The 22-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on June 26, will also continue rehab on his injured left knee, having torn the ACL and meniscus during a postseason game against Miami.
“I told the kids at my basketball camp to always face adversity with a positive attitude,” he said.