PIKEVILLE - Former East Kentucky Miners head coach and current coach of the Sauk Valley Predators (PBL) Kevin Keathley held his annual Pro Basketball Youth Camp in Pike County late last week. This year, Keathley partnered with the Pikeville YMCA. The YMCA served as the event’s host site. Partnering with the YMCA wasn’t the only change Keathley made to his annual camp. This year, Keathley opened his camp up free to all area boys and girls. The campers were able to attend the two-time coach of the year award winner’s camp for three days at no cost.
For Keathley, conducting a free camp was something that he has wanted to do for a long time.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the support we received with this year’s event,” Keathley said. “Having a free three-day camp is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve held free one-day camps in the past. However, this year, I wanted to set the bar a little higher for myself and the community. The community support we got from local businesses was tremendous. It was perfect timing this year to finally see a dream come true for me, personally.”
The Coach Kevin Keathley Run N’ Gun Pro Basketball Youth Camp presented by Community Trust Bank and J&M Monitoring gave the youth of Eastern Kentucky a chance to learn from the 10-year pro coach and current professional players Mike Crain and Jon Rogers. The camp stressed a positive message throughout the three days. From life lessons to guest speakers, the camp emphasized more than just basketball. It gave the campers a chance to hear a consistent positive message from the camp’s staff, which included Floyd County native Brandon Hall, who works as a federal senior parole officer. Hall stressed to the campers the importance of staying on the right path and not making mistakes they would regret later on in life. Jon Rogers, a 6-10 All-International All-Star in basketball, stressed the importance of going to church and staying positive through tough situations. Mike Crain a former East Kentucky Miners combo guard who won CBA All-Rookie honors with the Miners during the 2007 season, stressed never giving up and believing in yourself, no matter what.
Keathley who was named one of the top 10 coaches in America not in the NBA in 2009, encouraged the campers to strive for greatness by discovering their own unique talents and working to reach their full potential.
“I told my campers to go out and be great,” Keathley added. “The key to greatness is to first discover what you are good at and then go out and work as hard as you can possibly work to achieve your goals and dreams.”
Camp director and organizer Leigh Ann Hughes was extremely pleased with the camp.
“The campers all walked away with positive life lessons and memories that will last a lifetime,” Hughes confided. “I am so happy that I was able to be a part of this event and work with such amazing community partners who helped make the camp a huge success.”
The campers all received a T-shirt and medal. The winners of the free throw contest and those named to the Coach Keathley All-Star Team received trophies. Prizes were also given out. The prizes included a portable basketball goal with a basketball.
“This is what it’s all about, giving our kids something to get excited about,” Keathley added. “I wanted them to leave my camp a little more inspired than when they got there.”
Several Floyd Countians turned out for the camp. Nathan Brinager of Betsy Layne earned All-Camp honors. Allison and Emilee Riley of Allen Elementary walked away with prizes, which included a Magic Mart gift certificate and a game worn jersey of former University of Kentucky great Wayne Turner.
“A huge thank you goes out to the Pikeville YMCA, our staff, Leigh Ann Hughes, Mike Crain, Brandon Hall and Jon Rogers, our community sponsors and the parents who brought their kids out to be a part of it,” said Keathley. “It was a lot of fun.”