Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Isaiah Thomas will help Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland kick off its basketball season with his participation in a November 6th skills camp at East Technical High School.
Thomas, a Boys & Girls Clubs alumnus, will be on hand when Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland launches the second season of its Catch Me If You Can basketball program with a series of drills involving about 100 Club members. Thomas will also be interviewed by one of the teens in the basketball program. The event starts at 4:00 p.m. at the school, 2439 East 55 th St., Cleveland 44104.
Thomas, who came to Cleveland this summer in the Kyrie Irving trade, is recovering from a hip injury and has not yet played for the Cavaliers. He spent countless hours as a child at the local Boys & Girls Clubs in Tacoma, Wash., and earlier this year he helped Boys & Girls Clubs South Puget Sound expand its facilities to serve more kids; a new basketball court there now adorns his name.
At the dedication of the gym Thomas was quoted as saying, “This Boys & Girls Clubs was everything to me.” Thomas said he spent most of his summers at the Club while his parents worked.
Thomas starred at the University of Washington but lasted until the final pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, when he was selected by the Sacramento Kings. He blossomed into an All Star with the Boston Celtics. His famous Nike campaign, “Pick Me Last Again,” refers to the draft snub.
The Catch Me If You Can basketball program was launched last year with the support of Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland board member Rick Doody in honor of his son Alex, who was killed in a car accident at age 18.
The program stresses shooting and ball-handling fundamentals and game-like practice, which were the cornerstones of Alex’s short-lived basketball career. Alex sought to make 500-700 shots a day, and practiced ball-handling for close to an hour each day. Alex was a good shooter, evidenced by his free throw record of 165 shots made in a row. Just an average player in middle school, Alex’s hard work paid off in high school when he became a leading scorer on his AAU team and for Hawken High School.
The Catch Me If You Can Program also provides participation in the areas of officiating, athletic training, score-keeping and volunteerism. Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland provides fun, safe places for kids to go after school with a focus on academic achievement, healthy lifestyles and character development. The organization served more than 7,000 kids last year.