KAMLOOPS — Kelly Olynyk is front and centre again at his own basketball camp in Kamloops, and he wouldn't want it any other way.
He enjoy the coaching and interaction with the kids, putting his heart and soul into giving back to his hometown.
"He's here from first thing in the morning until closing at the end of the day, and he's demonstrating every drill," said Kelly's dad Ken Olynyk, also the athletic director at TRU. "He's talking to the kids. He's here on site the whole camp, which is really unusual for a camp that a professional athlete's at."
Into its fifth year, the Olynyk Klynyk has more than 100 players with some on a waiting list. Kelly wants to keep the numbers down to keep it more personal.
"We've got a waiting list of 10 to 12," noted Ken. "Kelly really struggles with allowing the camp to grow too large. He likes that ability to be intimate. He likes that ability to connect with each one of the kids that are in the camp."
It's the one-on-one attention Kelly gives that the participants most appreciate.
"I like how Kelly's been really engaging with all of us, really detailed in all the instructions that he gives us," said player Grayson Parkins. "Usually for an NBA player camp, they usually just show up for a couple days just to say hi. But Kelly's really engaged and really into coaching us."
Among the 100-plus players at the camp, three are taking part from Mexico — all in Kamloops improving their English at TRU. They just happened to learn about the camp shortly before they arrived.
"My mom and my dad introduced me to this Kamloops and TRU program, and they told me 'hey, there's this basketball clinic with Kelly Olynyk. Do you want to go?'" said Sebastian Estrello. "I was like 'ok yeah.' I have some fun at TRU and I have some fun playing basketball.
His friend, Fernando Aguirre, has really enjoyed his time learning more about the game.
"It's really great," he said. "I've been to a lot of camps in Europe and in the States, and this is a really different camp. Being with Olynyk is a great thing."
For Parkins, at his fourth Olynyk Klynyk, the skills he's picked up over the years from being around Kelly have made him a better player.
"Yeah I've noticed I've gotten better," he said. "My shooting and ball-handling, I've gotten a lot better just from this camp. Doing all the drills and stuff. It's really helped a lot."
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