Victor Oladipo shares message of positivity, communication, and fun at two-day basketball camp

Victor Oladipo, Pacers

The first thing you may have noticed as you drove past Park Tudor School over the weekend was how the parking lot was filled. Cars were in the grass and beside curbs with every other spot already filled. It was a scene you may see in the fall or spring when hundreds of fans are watching their top-ranked tennis program.

The turf football field and the adjacent soccer field weren’t in use. Not a person in sight.

All of the attention, instead, was inside a nearby building where Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo was holding his first annual basketball camp for boys and girls in grades 1 through 12. It’s the former home of IU teammate Yogi Ferrell. With school starting earlier and earlier this days, this two-day camp capped the summer for the majority of campers.

Inside, campers filled three gyms. There were more than a dozen camp counselors and Victor was sure to make his way to each group. He defended kids at one basket, shot around at another, and participated in a game of knock out at another station. This type of setup works perfectly for the affable Oladipo.

But I think the parents may have been more interested than their children. That explains all of the cars despite the three-hour camp already in session.

Oladipo has held a camp before. There was one back in 2014 with the Orlando Magic, and just recently, he hosted one back home in the DMV – D.C., Maryland, Virginia. Although he has jetted across the U.S. many times this offseason, like for various award shows and to watch his AAU team (Team Takeover) win a tournament in Augusta, he once again has spent the majority of his time in Miami. Training.

This was a special weekend for Oladipo, hosting a camp back in the state where he started to make a name for himself. Even though he wasn’t even here for three full days.

Victor Oladipo, Pacers

Oladipo explains how to properly run a pick-and-roll.

The day began with a conversation on attitude, and how a positive attitude can carry you through life. One of the first things Victor also wanted his young campers to understand was the importance of getting to know their teammates. Getting to know them. Don’t wait until the last day to introduce yourself.

“In the NBA, every one is important in the pick-and-roll. All five players … and I’m going to show you why.”

Victor then spent nearly 15 minutes explaining, with the help of 10 campers, the principles of a pick-and-roll and what reads the ball-handler must make. It was fascinating stuff. He’s an avid reviewer of film — and that was made clear during this breakdown.

Oh, and probably 125 parents were still on hand … just to observe. One lady streamed the whole talk on Instagram Live.

“Now, the reason why NBA pick-and-rolls are so hard guys, is because guys like me, guys like Russ (Westbrook), guys like John Wall, guys like that, they weak us [or weaking me]. Anybody know what that means? Take a guess.

“No, it’s not shooting. You saw me yesterday,” he joked, drawing laughters.

Victor Oladipo, Park Tudor School

Parents lined the court listening to Victor at his camp.

After hearing six incorrect guesses, Oladipo explained that ‘weaking him’ would be forcing him left — to his off hand. Then, he shared how he goes around that defense, by backing up and running a dribble hand-off, so often with Domantas Sabonis, to reset the play call.

Each camper received a team photo and an autographed photo of Victor in a gold Pacers jersey. And as they left, they were treated to Papa John’s Pizza.

Again, this was Oladipo in his element. He’s a good, thoughtful communicator with an infectious smile and positive attitude.

Here’s a great example of Victor communicating to his teammates during a timeout.

This is the first camp back in Indy — with likely many more to come. (He is under contract with the Pacers through the 2020-21 season.) And he shouldn’t undervalue the importance of a camp.

I still remember being on the other side of things, sitting on that very same court years ago for the camp of … Pacers guard Haywoode Workman, now an NBA official.

It’s the little things.

And now these kids, in grades 1 through 12, are perhaps back at school, sporting their new Victor Oladipo camp t-shirt and sharing about the fun summer they had.

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