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Ex-NBA Basketballer Coaches Jersey Players

Around 40 young basketballers are being coached by ex-professional player Kristaps Valters this half-term.

Valters, who played in the NBA summer league alongside LeBron James in 2003, is back in Jersey this month after running a successful sports camp in October.

After a 19-year career that included spells in Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey, Valters has put everything he learned as a professional athlete into coaching the next generation of players and opened his academy in Latvia.

He says he is so happy when they learn, and has been impressed by the enthusiasm of the young Jersey Basketball Association players.

"After one practice or the second practice, I can see they're getting better and they're learning.

It's good that they come here, because we know that in England football is the most important sport, but it's nice to see that they come here and want to progress."

Across the week, around forty 11 to 18-year-olds are learning skills including shooting, dribbling, and passing, as well as improving their IQ and defence and offence spacing.

They are also being taught discipline, how to instil confidence in themselves, teamwork and respect for other players.

The children told Channel 103 what they thought of the camp:

So far, I think it's been learning and improving on my skills already.

I just love playing basketball it's one of my favourite sports.

I'm just having fun and shooting, and playing with my team-mates.

These people here have came in to help us for a week, which I think is really nice that they help us with specific stuff.

Paul Milbank, President of the JBBA, says it's an enriching experience for those taking part:

"Events like these are pivotal for the advancement of basketball in our island community. By welcoming coaches from Latvia, we're not only introducing different styles and perspectives but also fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the sport."

The JBBA says there has been a surge in membership and interest in the sport, and it plans to organise more camps in the future to help player of all skill levels grow and develop.

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