Broncs join legend at basketball camp for youth
Robert Horry Day with UTPA and the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen, was organized by BBVA Compass Bank, and happened Friday. The free youth clinic featured speakers Ryan Marks, the UTPA men’s basketball coach, and Horry, seven-time NBA Champion, along with basketball drills led by Bronc basketball staff and players.
According to Horry, who played 15 years in the NBA and was renowned for his clutch shooting ability, people don’t realize how much sports teaches kids to deal with different types of people. Athletics teaches them how to interact with people they work with, not just school teammates, and to be successful on and off the court.
“As I was telling my son, ‘You won’t always have a coach you like. You won’t always have teammates you like, but you have to learn how to deal with them and be respectful of that person,’” he said. “I think that’s the key about sports, that you have to be respectful to your teammates, your coaches and your opponents and that carries over to your job down the line.”
Horry, who was only scheduled to speak to the children for 20 minutes, paid no attention to the time limit and made sure to interact with everyone; he stuck around for a while, taking photos and signing autographs for fans, who remembered him from his days with the Rockets and Spurs.
Both speakers emphasized the importance of a college education. Marks, heading into his fourth year at UTPA, made it clear during his speech that one can be a great player, but if grades aren’t up to par they won’t be recruited to play for the University.
“I think it’s really important,” he said. “Particularly because when we look at the student athletes at UTPA, throughout every sport, in particular our sport, men’s basketball, the guys’ love for playing the sport has really coincided with their academic successes and the reason that they’ve matriculated to a place like UTPA is because of the influence of both in their lives.”
UTPA alum Steve Solis took his three children, ages 5, 7 and 10, to the event. He stood alongside his youngest son as he participated in some of the shooting drills, coaching and encouraging him to try his best.
“(These events are) real important. It motivates the kids to stay in sports and at the same time stay educated, because, as how they were saying, without education you can’t really go anywhere,” Solis said. “I think it was a really good point that they brought someone important out here because it shows that anybody can do it.”
DeMarko Nash, 20-year-old incoming Bronc guard from Chicago, was skeptical at first about helping out at the camp, but started enjoying himself once he began interacting with the children.
“It’s been fun giving back to the little kids,” he said. “I remember when I was little, I didn’t have people doing this for me, so I’m just having fun doing it.”
Nash, who recalls watching Horry play while with the Lakers, was impressed with the NBA champion’s contribution to the camp.
“It’s big [to have Horry here]. It just inspired me in so many different ways,” Nash said. “Even when Coach Marks got up and talked about grades, makes me want to push more. I just go back to how I grew up, we didn’t get any of this, so I think this is a good opportunity for (the children).”