Toronto Raptor watches as kids execute basketball drills.
Toronto Community Housing youth received a special gift this holiday season from Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey. On December 22nd, more than 30 young people (aged 10 to 14) participated in a basketball clinic at the Bio-Steel Centre to help improve their basketball skills and inspire them to make good choices. After practising drills on the court, the kids had dinner and received gifts, including Raptors swag and words of wisdom from Coach Casey.
Dwane Casey speaking to the group of youth about making good choices.
The event was organized by Casey and his wife Brenda who have lived in Toronto with their family since Casey began his career with the Raptors seven years ago. "I told my wife I wanted to do something to give back to Toronto," he explained. "Our whole thing today is about choices, choices of how you want to live, and choices of what you want to do."
Raptors Assistant Coach Jama Mahlalela gives adivce to a participant attempting "The Impossible Catch" basketball drill.
Breanda explained that Dwane, who was raised in rural Kentucky by his grandparents, came from very meagre means and "has made a good life for himself by making good choices.". Dwane said that he hopes that the clinic inspired the youth to make the right choices in life. "Some of these kids may be already doing that, but if I can inspire one or two kids that are on the borderline trying to decide, then it's all worth it."
Casey signs a child's basketball, others wait for their turn.
Tremar, a participant, said his experience learning from the Raptors head coach was an honour. "Dwane Casey is one of my favorite coaches and the Raptors are my favorite team." Travell, another youth, told Toronto Community Housing "I'm a basketball fan and I've been playing basketball for a long time. Having an official coach of an NBA team coach me was unbelievable."
Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey (back row, third from left), his wife Brenda (far right) and Assistant Coach Jama Mahlalela (right of Dwane Casey) pose with the kids.