Skills clinic: A young basketball player gets a helping hand at a previous Dibia session on the island and, inset, national team player Steven Simons, who is one of the main organizers of the camp. *Photo by moongateproductions.com
Skills clinic: A young basketball player gets a helping hand at a previous Dibia session on the island and, inset, national team player Steven Simons, who is one of the main organizers of the camp. *Photo by moongateproductions.com

Have you had your appetite for some on-court action whetted by March Madness?

Well, the Dibia Spring Skills Clinic is almost here — and there are still places left for budding basketball players from the ages of eight to 18.

The three-day camp runs from April 7-9 at Warwick Academy and is priced at $80 per person.

Dibia Athletic founder Brandon Okpalobi, who walked on for University of Miami before earning a scholarship and playing from 2000 to 2005, will fly in from the States to take the clinic alongside Bermuda national team player Steven Simons.

Okpalobi says the company’s presence in Bermuda — they’ve done two summer camps and one spring clinic previously — is in keeping with basketball’s ‘global’ reach.

“When kids see March Madness...I mean, that’s really the essence of basketball,” Okpalobi told the Bermuda Sun

“That’s the time you can see anything happen and that gets people motivated and excited.”

He added: “Each year we see new kids, which is great, and we see the same kids we saw before and their talent has increased from our camp or clinic.

“And I know now with the expanson the BBA is doing, taking the kids to Orlando and stuff like that, I think that’s really helping elevate the skills of the kids there because they get to see the skills and competition from other places.”

Okpalobi said Dibia is also happy to help youngsters further their development in the States.

He said: “It would be great if some of them could follow in the footsteps of Sullivan Phillips, Steve walked on at UM, anything like that if we can help in any way possible if a school is looking at them and they need a recommendation, for example.”

He added: We definitely want to expand in Bermuda. Our next step is pushing to Saturday clinics during different seasons in the year to keep the kids going.”

The sessions cater to all levels and Simons says if you’re interested in the game, get involved, have some fun and improve your game.

“It’s a skill development camp,” Simons told the Bermuda Sun. “We look to give the kids a fun experience obviously but it is a focused camp on skill development. 

“We start pretty young — in the past we’ve had some six year olds so we start with the basics with them but we cater to different skill levels with different training so it is really all about skill development.

“Brandon tends to give them some motivational messages and life coaching throughout the day — it’s a bit of a mix.”

He added:  “It’s a three-hour thing each day so we’ll probably do an hour or two specific on skills ranging from ball handling to shooting, defence, a bit of agility and fitness work and we’ll finish up the day with a couple of games depending on the size of the groups. 

“We usually do some skill games as well, some free-throwing competition, stuff like that.”

The clinic’s numbers will be set at around 75 in order to give each player the necessary attention and Simons says even if your child has never picked up a basketball, don’t let that put you off.

He said: “We had a couple of requests last summer from five or six-year-olds who had never picked up a basketball. 

“If you look at them at the end of the camp, you can just see their improvements. By all means, if you are interested in basketball, come on out.”

He added: “I attended these camps when I was young and it always excited me to see former national team players provide support to the community — that’s all I really get out of it. I enjoy the coaching side of the game — just giving back.”

Simons said he hopes to entice a number of other national team players to lend their expertise.

He said: “A lot of guys from the national team have helped out in the past. 

“It’s really on availability — so we normally get about five or six.” 

To register or get more details about the clinic call 543-8826, email info@dibiaathletic.com or log on to www.dibiaathletic.com