(This article originally appeared in the June 17 edition of the Newberry Observer.)
Newberry College men's basketball coach Shaun Golden lives for coaching and teaching his game to not only his team, but young players.
That's one reason why the former University of Georgia Bulldog could be seen sporting a beaming smile all week during his second annual Shaun Golden Basketball Camp on the campus of Newberry College.
A year ago, the camp served just eight children, but this year the numbers were amazing, according to the head coach.
"The biggest change is we went from having eight kids to 35. The change is very good, and very pleasing," Golden said.
Another big change was the fact that more girls turned out for the program compared to just one last year. Several members of the Newberry Academy and Newberry High teams were there.
"The girls are having a great time, and are getting after it just as hard as the boys," the coach said.
Golden knows a thing or two about the hardwood. His father is a legendary high school hoops coach in the Palmetto State.
"I learned by going to various camps and I am trying to teach what I know. We are giving the kids instruction and it has been very fun. We are not only teaching them basketball skills, but also life skills," the second-year head coach noted.
According to Golden, the camp is part of a fun time of the year.
"This is a fun experience for me, and we are asking the young people who come to this to come out and enjoy themselves. The kids wanting to come to camp and wanting to learn basketball is very pleasing," Golden said.
The head coach noted that the camp is much more than basketball, as it features life skills and nutrition talk.
"We have been talking about having fun in your life, but being responsible. Nutrition has been our biggest push. We have encouraged all campers to cut soda out of their diets and to change their diets. We want the campers to cut out the fried food and replace it with fruits throughout
the summer to see how it enhances their stamina. This camp is a lot more than basketball, and we are teaching the kids about etitiqute," he said.
Those in attendance got to hear about life's lessons from former Newberry College player Jack Easterby, who is currently working with the University of South Carolina. Easterby told the campers that doing the little things right is what makes them successful.
"I want someone who is willing to work when the media and fans aren't around. I want someone who is willing to dive into the bleachers with three seconds left and get a bloody nose because they don't want that ball to go out of bounds. One of the best things I have heard Coach Dave Odom say is we don't offer excuses, we offer improvements," Easterby told the kids.
Easterby also shared a story of USC's point guard Tre Kelley, who can often be found in the gym shooting 500 jump shots before the sun comes up.
Asked what he gets out of the camp, Golden smiled and said, "I don't get a chance to teach our team right now, and this a chance for me to get that coaching out. I am hopeful that through this camp, we can make connections in the community and get the community more involved with the Newberry College men's basketball team.
"Hopefully, these kids will go home and not only work on their games, but get their families to come to some of our games," Golden said.
For those who were not able to come this year, do not worry. Golden stated the camp will be a yearly staple.
"We are going to keep doing it every year and we look forward to getting more people involved," the coach commented.