Updated 06/28/2012 05:27 PM
NBA star returns to Capital Region to host youth basketball camp
Fresh off his first season in the NBA and a few weeks after tying the knot, Glens Falls native Jimmer Fredette is back in the Capital Region. YNN's Matt Hunter caught up with the local star, who's now trying to pass his skills along to young fans.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – "It was exciting and it was my first time ever seeing him in real life," said Isaac Friel, a local middle school student who plays basketball.
"I thought it was exciting. I always wanted to meet him," said Taylor Albrecht, an eighth grade student from Queensbury.
Wish granted, make that a few hundred wishes, as young hoopers filled the Saratoga Springs Recreation Center for the first annual Jimmer Jam Basketball Camp, where you guessed it, Glens Falls native and NBA player Jimmer Fredette was the main attraction.
"I thought it was really cool that he [Fredette] made it to the NBA because I knew that he came from around here and most people from around here don't usually make it to the NBA," camper Austin Smith said.
Fresh off his rookie season and a few weeks after tying the knot with his college sweetheart, Fredette returns to the Capital Region where not long ago, he and big brother, TJ, were in the same shoes as his young campers.
"I used to love to play basketball and you could come to a camp and play all day and that's what I wanted to do,” Fredette said. “Hopefully these kids are enjoying it just as much I did."
"We were these kids, sitting in the audience watching, learning,” TJ Fredette said. “So Jimmer can relate to all of these kids because he was there once."
With a rare chance to see an NBA star up close, campers got to work through various drills with Fredette and see him put his own talents on display.
In addition to helping kids hone their own skills, the money raised at the camp benefits Fredette Family Foundation, which supports several local charities.
Both ventures provide the hometown star a chance to reconnect with the area where he first made a name for himself.
"He made a half court shot and then he dunked,” camper Hayden Smith said. “So it was really fun to have him around and taking the time to do that, so it was really nice of him."
"It's very exciting to come back here and see the support still and be able to come back here and help in this area because this is home, like I said," Fredette said.
With two daily sessions, the Jimmer Jam camp runs through Saturday.