Gators Offering Special Camps

More than a decade ago Dan Cross and Andrew DeClercq were basking in the glow of having helped the Florida Gator basketball program reach a new level with a trip to the Final Four. The Gators came up short in their quest for a National Championship but to this day it ranks as perhaps the most loved and appreciated teams in school history.

Now the two have teamed up again, this time looking to elevate the skill level of the next generation of basketball players. The "Final Four Fundamentals" camps are already underway, but there's plenty of time to get your youngster involved in the sessions. Cross fills in the details below.

What are these camps all about and what ages are you targeting?

"Final Four Fundamentals" basketball camp is also designed to equip the youth of central Florida with the necessary tools to become productive young men and women. We want to teach them not only skills and fundamentals of basketball but skills and fundamentals that will prepare them for life. The skills that are taught in basketball or in any other sport can directly be correlated with all life experiences and encounters. Teamwork, discipline, following instructions, time promptness and management, leadership, winning and losing are all skills that youth need to be taught on the court and off the court if they want to be successful young men and women in a world that can sometimes be cruel. With these positive values being reinforced our camp will continue to be a success."

"The purpose and vision of "Final Four Fundamentals" basketball camp is to help educate and instruct youth, between the ages of 8-15, on the fundamentals of basketball and life. We will also be hosting our annual Parent/Camper day that will involve interaction between Parent/Guardian and camper. "

Where and when will the camps be held?

"July 9-14 - Late registration still accepted at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Orlando, Fla. 12 p.m. - 5:30 p.m."

"July 23-28 - Orlando Downtown Recreation Complex next to Magic Arena 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m."

"August 1-4 - All Fundamentals Basketball Camp at the Florida Gym in Gainesville, Fla. 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m."

How much fun is it teaming up with Andrew again?

"It's exciting to be able to team up with Andrew again. This time it's a different game that we are playing. We have an opportunity to teach what has been taught to us. We are coaching the fundamentals of basketball which in return gives us a chance to teach the youth about the fundamentals of life. It's nice not to be coached for once! We both enjoy youth and understand the importance of making a positive impact on youth in communities. We have always talked about working together and giving back and our camps give us the perfect opportunity to help communities that have helped us."

How much pride does the 1994 team, the first Final Four team for the Gators take in the successes that have followed?

"That team will always be special to us. Anytime you have a chance to experience something for the first time it is very memorable. That team was particularly special because we enjoyed playing with one another and Gator fans loved to watch us play. We helped put Florida Basketball on the map which has made the program attractive to names like Billy Donavon, his staff and his great student athletes. That brings us great joy to know that we are an important part of Florida Basketball tradition. That's a great feeling!

How welcome are you guys around the Gator program?

"The University of Florida and Billy Donovan have tried to promote former players to come back and be a part of the program, which has given me an opportunity to know some of his players and coaching staff. It's nice to know that the program still wants the former players to come around. I have tried to come back a little more so my kids can see what I had the chance to experience. THE GATOR NATION!"

What was your reaction to Billy Donovan changing his mind and staying in Gainesville?

"Not surprised! He has the right to change his mind and man enough to admit if he made a mistake. I would have done the same thing if I knew I wasn't going to be happy in the long run. That's why I respect him because he follows his heart and has had the best interest of his family, his happiness and the University of Florida."

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