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Local Youth Learn Life Skills at Mustaff Basketball Camp

Local youth learn life skills at Mustaf basketball camp

Lake Waccamaw, NC – “I’m pleased to use the game of basketball because all of the lessons I learned helped me grow as a man, father, leadership skills, being able to humble myself, keep God first, family second, education and then basketball.”

These were the words of former NBA player Jerrod Mustaf in an interview about the basketball and life skills camp held at Thomas Academy. More than 40 youth from the community attended the free camp.

“They have done a tremendous job with the offerings at this campus and this campus is beautiful,” Mustaf said of the Boys and Girls Homes campus where Thomas Academy is located. “Hosting a basketball camp for these kids is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

“My mother told me as a kid don’t ever forget your hometown, don’t ever forget where you came from,” he continued. “I’ve been blessed to learn so much basketball from so many people that imparted wisdom in my life. It only makes sense that I give back to them and young people because they are our future.”

The five-day camp included classroom sessions with local entrepreneurs, leaders, and law enforcement professionals in addition to basketball drills and games. The youth were divided into junior and senior divisions for a round-robin regular season followed by the playoffs. The teams were named after NBA teams.

Senior division winning coach Demetrius Gibson praised his team in a Facebook post following the camp.

“This group worked hard all week and to be able to say that we wrapped up the camp as champs is good enough for me,” he wrote. “Golden State has nothing on these Warriors.”

In addition to team honors, individual awards were presented for sportsmanship and teamwork.

“The camp was great. I think they did a great job of showing us how life skills translate on to the basketball court and respect to Coach Jerrod,” said Devon Flowers, male Shaar R. Mustaf Award winner for the senior division. “You don’t see people giving back to the community like he has. A totally free basketball and life skills camp – you don’t see that around here every day.”

Female senior division award winner Amelia Hopkins agreed. “This camp has been a great learning experience. Not only did I learn basketball skills, but I also learned life skills. I want to thank Jerrod for coming and doing this for us kids. It was a great learning experience for up and coming athletes.”

For attendee Matt Green, the experience was an especially important opportunity at the school.

“I can honestly say the camp was perfect,” Green said. “I thank Coach Jerrod for hosting the camp at our school. I learned a lot just being at the camp like just being able to learn life skills and being able to take life skills to the court and just getting to know new coaches and new players. I just want to thank Coach Jerrod again for just hosting the camp at our school and just giving everyone that exposure.”

Thomas Academy Principal Dr. Cathy Gantz was pleased with the camp.

“This was a tremendous learning opportunity for the boys and girls,” said Gantz. “We look forward to bringing more camps like this to the community in the future.”

About Thomas Academy

Thomas Academy is a North Carolina Public Charter School that educates middle and high school students. Located on the campus of Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina in Lake Waccamaw, the academy provides a tailored academic experience to students who are oftentimes in need of a more specialized, integrated curriculum. Thomas Academy was founded on personalization in education, unique offerings and educating through purposeful design. Enrollment is open to any student in grades six through 12. For more information, visit our website

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