Kentucky men’s basketball gives back to the children with summer camp


Kentucky Wildcats forward Keion Brooks Jr. (12) lays the ball up during the University of Kentucky vs. Arkansas men’s basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK lost 81-80. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Barkley Truax

A full afternoon of fun ensued in day four of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Camp at Elizabethtown High School on Friday.

It was a breath of fresh air seeing children, players and coaches having fun while giving the campers a once in a lifetime experience to learn, meet and play around directly with the 2021-22 Kentucky Wildcat roster.

“It’s fun,” Brooks Jr. said about being out there with the campers. “Just going out there, running around with them is a lot of fun.” 

“It’s just fun to give [the kids] that type of experience and I’m just grateful that they’re huge fans and a way we can pay our respects to them too,” he said. 

Even when they’re not huge fans, as Brooks Jr. described, it’s still fun to give back to the children no matter who they root for.

“We just gave [the camper] a hard time,” Brooks Jr. said about a kid who showed up wearing Louisville Cardinal shoes. “He’s a great kid, he’s out there having fun so that’s all that matters.”

Lance Ware took the lead when it came to handling the camp rotations. On one corner you had dribble drills with Brennan Canada, layup lines with Dontaie Allen and Keion Brooks, one on one drills with Sahvir Wheeler and TyTy Washington and even the opportunity to take a picture and receive an autograph from John Calipari.

The 6-foot-7 Brooks Jr. and the 6-foot-6 Allen had their fun with the campers in their drills. Kids stood in awe as their shots were blocked and sent to the bleachers in what was supposed to be easy layups for the unsuspected kids.

“You’ve got to let them know that it’s not easy down there in the paint,” Brooks Jr. said jokingly. “You’ve got to be creative or we’ll send it to the rafters. 

Bruiser Flint along with new coaches Chin Coleman, Orlanda Antigua and even the newest Coach Cal, Brad oversaw the camp from the sidelines.

The afternoon ended with the campers divided into groups, each with a team led by a Kentucky player. Ware said if you lost, the losing team had to do 172 push ups; the kids groaned.

The kids got opportunities to take pictures and receive autographs with as many of the players as their heart’s desired, capturing a moment in time they won’t soon forget. That’s the power of Kentucky basketball.

After a year of Zoom press conferences, minimal fans in Rupp Arena due to the pandemic and just an overall devastating year for the program, the members of the Kentucky men’s basketball team were just as loved as they’ve always been to the people who look up to them the most. 

Kentucky’s team will travel to Covington Catholic, Iowa transfer C.J. Fredrick’s alma mater tomorrow from 2-5 p.m. in Covington, Kentucky. Full coverage will be provided @KyKernelSports on Twitter.

More highlights from today’s camp: