This Saturday night, Dubbo basketball fans and the wider Waratah League will get a chance to see American import Adam Ward do his thing for the Dubbo Rams.
But on Wednesday he introduced a new crop of youngsters to the game, and they weren’t exactly the children currently within the Rams junior program.
A total of 50 pre-school and junior pre-school students from Peppercorn Childcare Centre were shuttled to Dubbo Sports World in four groups to take part in a clinic with Ward.
And to say they were exciting watch the former Division 1 college player in action would be an understatement.
The clinics were arranged by Peppercorn proprietor Nick Sykes and his brother Bart, who is coaching the Rams in 2018.
“Adam was excellent with the kids. He’s pretty laid back and it was about everyone enjoying themselves,” Nick Sykes said.
“Part of what we do at the centre with those kids is about movement, health, hand-eye co-ordination and those types of things so to give the children this kind of opportunity is unique and breaks up what they usually do.
“We got the little ring out for them to shoot into after they watched Adam use the big ring and he took them through dribbling and passing.
“Then he dunked a couple of times, the kids got pretty excited by that and they just ran around with some free time and tried to dunk as well.”
For Bart Sykes, the chance to get Ward out in to the community was about promoting the game to the next generation of Rams.
He is hopeful the work the American does with the children of Dubbo can complement the current Rams Rookies program.
“Claire Hargreaves has done a great job with that Rookies program and it’s really about making sure we keep finding ways to bring kids to the game,” he said.
“We’re creating destinations for these kids to get into rep and then State League as they get older, but the Rookies program and clinics like the one with the kids from Peppercorn help us get the kids involved in the sport to start with.
“If we can keep introducing kids to the sport, that will create a healthy junior program and a healthy junior program leads to a healthy senior program, so these clinics are the start of that process.”
The Dubbo Rams’ 2018 campaign starts against Canberra at 5pm on Saturday.