UNC Basketball Camp
Posted by Justin on April 1, 2013
These pictures mean a lot to me. The first one was taken during my first UNC Basketball Camp and the one below it was taken when I visited for 'Late Night' last year.
Looking at them brings back a lot of memories. More than anything, it makes me think of my journey from a little kid at my first camp in Chapel Hill to now getting ready to play there. It's all still kind of surreal. It makes all that time in the gym, days in the weight room and nights on the road totally worth it.
Going to Coach Williams' camp was something I looked forward to every year. It was, by far, the best camp I went to when I was younger. Before that, I had been to other camps and they just didn't feel like they were the right one. That changed after attending UNC's.
The camp was just so organized and I really liked that. Every day you had a schedule that said when you got up in the morning, what time breakfast was, what time skills practice was, what time games were and what time free time was. That first year I had a great experience, so my family said I could come back.
Another great thing about it was that I could interact with some of the players on the team. At camp they follow you around and are your counselors and referees and everything.
My first camp was right after UNC won the 2005 National Championship and I remember talking to David Noel and Bobby Frasor. David was on our court and he actually was the referee for a couple of my games, so that was pretty cool.
At that camp you meet some really cool people. I actually keep in contact, from time to time, with a guy I met at camp; his name is Hunter Goodwin. I think he was a ball boy for North Carolina for a while.
What's even crazier is that I never imagined I'd be a Carolina-level player. They recognized me mostly because I was one of the tallest ones there. I didn't think I was capable of playing there until a couple years ago.
I remember when they basically first became interested in me as a recruit and it was at camp. My team was playing at Carmichael and Coach Williams goes to every gym during the camp to watch games. He came over to where I was and started watching our game.
My next game was in the Smith Center, so I knew I had gotten their attention.
Going to UNC's camps really built the foundation for my interest in the school and for that, I'm thankful. My younger brother, Jonathan, has actually already been to one and my sister, Jordan, is going to try and go to the girl's camp this summer. My family loves North Carolina and really enjoys it.
At my last basketball camp, Harrison Barnes had just gotten to campus and was playing in the counselor game. It was intense and cool seeing guys like him and John Henson on the court. I remember that well.
It was a tough end to the season for this year's team, but I really liked the way they fought. I think they just might have run out of gas in the second half, but Kansas had a lot to do with it. They're a good team.
With the Final Four set, I'm picking Michigan to win it all. I just have a feeling about them. Also, make sure you watch the McDonald's game on Wednesday. Lots of Tar Heels will be in the boys and girls games. It's definitely a goal of mine to one day play in it and I'm going to keep working towards that goal.
AAU starts soon. I'll talk about that more in my next journal.
March 13, 2013 - 'My First Week As A Tar Heel'