Pro gives assist at KF camp

Published 10:13 pm Friday, July 15, 2011

Ky’shondra Edwards shoots during a drill at the Bulldog MVP Skill Development Camp at King’s Fork Middle School Thursday morning. Led by King’s Fork head coach Josh Worrell, present and former Bulldog players help coach during the four-day camp.

A basketball camp at one Suffolk school is a citywide affair this year.

King’s Fork’s boys basketball program and its second annual Bulldog MVP Skill Development Camp are run by a former Lakeland Cavalier, Josh Worrell.

Worrell’s invited former Nansemond River Warrior standout Maurice Riddick as a guest speaker to the campers each of the two summers.

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“I’m from Suffolk, so it’s always good to be back and do what I can to help kids see a bigger picture,” Riddick said.

Riddick spoke to the younger half of the Bulldog MVP Camp early Thursday morning in King’s Fork Middle School’s gym. He was hanging around, splitting time between helping with drills and shooting around with some current Bulldog varsity players, waiting to talk to the older kids in the afternoon.

Riddick says he was “a good player, not a great player” as a Warrior. Yet, he went on to an outstanding career at MEAC school Bethune-Cookman and continues as a professional player, having been in leagues in Argentina, Mexico and currently Brazil.

In fact, in Mexico, Riddick was one of the elite players in the league, so much so he’s got a shoe made and named for him in that country. Riddick averaged 15.9 points per game in 2010-11 for Brazilian team Vila Velha.

“You have to be the best you,” Riddick said. “You have to be yourself. If you are 100 percent of your best, you’re going to be better off than if you’re trying to be five percent of Kobe (Bryant).”

“And you can take that approach to anything in life, definitely not just basketball, and be successful,” Riddick said.

Riddick wanted the campers to take three main points from his talk. First, they need to have respect for everyone from parents to coaches. Next, education is a necessity.

“Your grades have to be important or you’ll never get the opportunity to show your talent,” Riddick said.

Third, dedication is important, Riddick said. It took him to Bethune-Cookman, and being an excellent player there, then to a pro career. A table displayed three Riddick jerseys — a Bethune-Cookman jersey, one from a pro team and one from an all-star game.

“Each level meant a new work ethic,” Riddick said.

“When I was their age, when Suffolk guys came and talked to us, it meant a lot to me. Those guys who played college or pro ball inspired me,” he said.

Recent King’s Fork stars Jamar Wertz and Jaquon Parker, two Bulldogs most of the campers probably saw in action during King’s Fork’s 2008-09 state championship season, were there during the week.

Wertz is now playing at Maryland-Baltimore County. Parker’s a back-up point guard at Cincinnati as the Bearcats reached the NCAA Tournament last season.

“It’s good for the kids to see them and interact with them,” said Worrell. “The kids get to learn from them. They really helped out. It was the first time they’ve both been back here at the same time.”