Basketball: Red Star Easter camp benefits youngsters with hoop dreams

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Some of the best young basketball in Sheffield were put through their paces by the coaches of former European champions Red Star Belgrade last week.

Hosted by the Sharks at the English Institute of Sport in Attercliffe the training camp ran for five days during the Easter Holidays.

Sheffield Sharks' hosted Red Star Belgrade training sessions at the Englsih Instiutute of Sport.

Sheffield Sharks' hosted Red Star Belgrade training sessions at the Englsih Instiutute of Sport.

However, the Red Star camp was unlike the traditional holiday activities where children take part in sport as ‘something to do’ while parents are at work.

The emphasis for players ranging in age from seven to 18 years old was on high-intensity sessions that developed basic skills for the younger members and introduced most sophisticated practices for those at the older end of the scale.

Red Star are a former European champion and qualifiers for the Euroleague, which is the top level of competition in Europe.

Their visit to Sheffield was part of a wider project by Red Star who are trying to build partnerships across Europe.

Sheffield Sharks' basketball academy is hosting Red Star Belgrade training sessions at the Englsih Instiutute of Sport. Our picture shows some of the young basketball players who attended the event on Wednesday (23 April 2014).

Sheffield Sharks' basketball academy is hosting Red Star Belgrade training sessions at the Englsih Instiutute of Sport. Our picture shows some of the young basketball players who attended the event on Wednesday (23 April 2014).

Red Star UK manager Bane Vukovic said: “This is our second camp in the UK after one in London with the Kingston Wildcats.

“We have had excellent training with the players in Sheffield.

“Our programmes are recognised all over the world.

“Besides the UK we’re also in other countries such as Turkey, Spain and Slovenia and we’ll be starting in China soon too.

Sheffield Sharks' basketball academy is hosting Red Star Belgrade training sessions at the Englsih Instiutute of Sport. Our picture shows some of the young basketball players who attended the event on Wednesday (23 April 2014).

Sheffield Sharks' basketball academy is hosting Red Star Belgrade training sessions at the Englsih Instiutute of Sport. Our picture shows some of the young basketball players who attended the event on Wednesday (23 April 2014).

“I could see that the players were enjoying the training very much.

“The comments were very positive with people saying the training is different to other camps they’ve been to.

“We’ll be looking to develop our camps in the UK with our next camp probably next August.”

The camp was attended by Sharks coach Atiba Lyons and assistant Joel Mills who were able to watch some of their most promising junior players being coached.

England under 17 international Marko Backovic and regular senior Sharks bench players Jake Wignell, Eddy Brownell, Matteo Murriero, Montell Gordon, Naphtali Nembhard and Sam Thompson all took part.

In the younger group players came from across South Yorkshire with many developing their skills ahead of this weekend’s first trial matches for a Yorkshire representative side at Year 5/6 age group.

Meanwhile, Devon Van Oostrum, who came through the Junior Sharks system before joining Spanish club Laboral Kutxa has declared for the NBA Draft.

The 6’3” point guard Van Oostrum, aged 21, is a Great Britain international and, if selected by an NBA club, will be playing against the world’s best players in America.

The Silverdale School old boy was nominated as European Young Player of the Year in 2013 after starring for Great Britain under 20s in the European Championship.