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Marvin Williams returns to Bremerton High School to host basketball camp
With a grin as wide as the baseline and his head cocked to the rafters, Jumier Johnson peered toward his towering coach.
“I never thought I’d be on the same court as Marvin Williams,” said Johnson, 12.
The Mountain View Middle School student was among 70 youngsters who on Tuesday attended the first-ever Marvin Williams Attack Youth Basketball Camp at Bremerton High School.
It was day one of the four-day clinic, the first of its kind since Williams graduated from Bremerton in 2004 and attended the University of North Carolina for one year before being selected No. 2 overall in the 2005 NBA Draft.
Despite playing five years in the NBA, and in the past helping with clinics hosted by former Carolina teammates, the Atlanta Hawks forward had never hosted his own camp.
His father, Marvin Williams Sr., had been encouraging him to host a camp ever since the 2005 draft.
So when fellow NBA player Jamal Crawford approached Williams after a game last season, asking if he wanted to host a clinic, the decision was easy.
“I’m just hoping the kids learn a lot and most of all have fun,” Williams said.
That was evident Tuesday as the young players dribbled and passed, though there were no three-point shooting contests or full-court scrimmages. Instead, the 5- to 18-year-olds learned how to play fundamental defense and finish scoring opportunities from close range.
The players broke into small groups, participated in team exercises and concluded the three-hour session with a relay race for prizes.
Williams, however, believed his pupils could have paid closer attention, something he said must happen before the end of the fourth day Friday.
“Once they listen, man, it’ll be great,” he joked. “There wasn’t much of that happening today.”
Then again, who’s to blame?
Each camper was abuzz over Williams’ towering presence, sharing laughs and brief one-on-one challenges with the 6-foot-9-inch forward.
“He knows everything,” said Johnson, the 12-year-old. “He can help me improve my game.”
Williams hopes the camp becomes an annual tradition at Bremerton, something that grows and attracts more players. He chose to host in part because he never had such an opportunity while growing up.
The 24-year-old attended Armin Jahr Elementary School and Mountain View before playing at the high school, but he received much of his practice playing at city parks.
“The sky is the limit,” Williams said. “Kids in this city need to realize what you can be.
“Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can and can’t be. I heard a million times what I couldn’t be, and look what I am now.”