ORLANDO, FL: Teams got a break from gameplay on Thursday, but that did not stop them from continuing their incredible experiences at the Jr. NBA World Championship in Orlando, Florida.
Teams began the day by giving back to the local Orlando and Kissimmee, Florida community by building a KaBOOM! playground at Oak Street Park. Players and coaches from around the world worked with former pros Tamika Catchings, Bo Outlaw, Jason Collins, Grant Hill, and Nick Anderson, as well as U.S. General Martin Dempsey, to make the community that is hosting their experience a better place.
Players also took part in teaching a clinic to younger kids from the area in a clinic of their own. Teamwork and determination was key in the success of the day. Players from around the world came together to make a lasting impact on the community while bonding and learning from one another.
Coaches were then treated to a very special coaching clinic by Dallas Mavericks head coach, Rick Carlisle. Carlisle emphasized the importance of connecting with players in fellow coaches in order to be successful. Carlisle also taught coaches some best practices when it comes to correcting players’ shooting from the field and from the free throw line. He answered questions on other subjects like working with Dirk Nowitzki and how learning to be a pilot can help you become a better coach.
The day was capped with the Gatorade Skills Challenge. The talent on display had everyone from Bo Outlaw to Grant Hill out of their seats in amazement. Teams of three showed off the ball handling, passing, and shooting, first. following the team event, each team had a representative compete in the first ever Jr. NBA World Championship 3-point shooting competition. Liyongwei Xie from the China Boys and the South Girls’ Abbie Barr were crowned the best 3-point shooters in the world.
Then, at about 10:00PM local time, the best moment of the entire week happened. A dunk exhibition between some of the best high-flying players took place. The rim rocked hard all the way up until the last participant, Jarace Walker took the ball for the night’s final dunk. Walker brought his teammate Sammy Scott out on the court and told him to stand in the paint while he walked out beyond the 3-pont line on the right side. Walker took a breath then exploded towards the basket, leaped over Scott, and slammed home the dunk as the crowd went wild.
Walker and the Mid-Atlantic Boys will face the Southeast tomorrow as play shifts to the first elimination round. Two premiere matchups will be highlighted on FS1. First, the Southeast Girls take on the Northwest Girls at 2:00PM as Ashlyn Watkins looks to continue her stellar defensive play. And at 7:00PM the South Boys look to keep Christian Moore and the West Boys from moving onto the U.S. Semifinal.