The Norman Transcript

March 3, 2012

Giving back Former Sooners coming back to Norman for youth basketball camp

By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Since ending her collegiate career at the University of Oklahoma in 2010, Nyeshia Stevenson has played ball in many gyms across the world. From the Phoenix Mercury to Basket Parma (Italy) and now B.C. Habika’a in Israel, it has been a whirlwind adventure.

“I have loved it,” Stevenson said. “Not a lot of people understand how much you can learn from different people and different cultures. It opens your eyes on a whole different level and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Stevenson will be bringing the knowledge she has obtained criss-crossing the globe back to Cleveland County when she and former Sooner and current B.C. Habika’a teammate Amanda Thompson host a basketball camp June 1-2 at the Cross Pointe Community Centre Gym. It’s the first camp the two have ever held and they wanted it to take place in the area where they experienced much of their success.

“Participating in a camp like this is very important because it gives me the chance to really showcase my coaching skills and the ability to teach kids younger than me what I have been taught throughout my life,” Thompson said. “I would hope to pass on a different aspect of the game to show that anybody can play and become good at it, as long as you practice the right habits.”

DJ Fisher, representing both Stevenson and Thompson at Defining Sports Marketing Agency, saw immediately that both women would make great role models at his company.

“I noticed their professionalism, humble spirit, how they reacted to the crowd on and off the court, and the fans reaction to them,” Fisher said. “Defining Sports is about changing lives through sports, impacting and inspiring and I’m willing to bet that there are a few reading this article that these ladies have encouraged, inspired and impacted in a positive way. For those reasons I wanted to represent them and have them become apart of Defining Sports.”

Having Stevenson and Thompson put on a basketball camp not only gets them out into the public more, but Fisher with more than just their basketball game.

“We understand that research shows, school-aged children that do not participate in sports related activity is directly related to increase in pregnancy, delinquency, obesity, truancy and increased risk in consuming drugs and alcohol,” Fisher said. “We want to encourage the kids to stay in school, use criticism as motivation to become bigger and better than the critic. Stay fit, stay in shape. Seven Days without consistent activity makes one weak. Childhood obesity is huge and we want to raise awareness for it through this camp.

“With this camp we want to enhance the kid’s basketball skills, no matter If they are beginners or advanced. Learning from the pros in a rare opportunity at a affordable price.”

Stevenson and Thompson want to pass along life lessons as well.

“I hope to pass along to the campers that all they have to do is believe and do,” Stevenson said. “If they are willing to be committed to the sport and want to get better, they will leave the camp continuing the skills they learned and strive to get better every single day. I want them to understand that anything is possible if they set their mind to it.”

Along with putting on the camp, Fisher said Thompson and Stevenson will be visiting the patients in area hospitals.

“There are many kids fighting cancer, and other illnesses that don’t have the chance to attend the camp and the ladies will bring joy and excitement to them,” Fisher said.

With this being the first ever camp, Defining Sports is hoping to see more than 150 kids packed into the Cross Pointe Centre gym over the two days. But even more than that, they want to make a difference in the lives of the ones who show up.

“Participating in a camp like this one is so important to me because I was that kid,” Stevenson said. “I had a whole lot of talent, but my fundamentals were absent. When I attended OU’s camp, I had learned so much in two days. I mean, they taught me things that I had no idea you could do. To me, it is very important to have a camp like this. It can help a girl who thought she had no chance, dream.”

Michael Kinney 366-3537 mkinney@normantranscript.com

Camp Information

Amanda Thompson and Nyeshia Stevenson Basketball Camp.

When: June 1-2

Where: Cross Pointe Community Centre Gym.

Ages: Boys and girls 6-18 years of age

Cost: $50 per camper before April 30. $60 afterward.

Registration is online at: DefiningSports.com, click on “Events” and they will see the Amanda Thompson and Nyeshia Stevenson Basketball Camp.

Also, campers can register at the Cross Pointe Community Church/Centre and with former OU Sooner La’Neishea Caufield-Daniels at: 235-9864. For more information, email DJ Fisher at: DJ@DefiningSports.com or call 205-401-4766