Juneau-Douglas High School alum Carlos Boozer is in the midst of another stellar season with the Utah Jazz, but he's already gearing up for the next edition of his summertime youth basketball camp, held in Juneau the first week of August.
Boozer is averaging better than 19 points and 11 rebounds, helping
lead the Jazz to their current fourth-place spot in the Western Conference - where he was named the Conference Player of the Month on Monday - 57 games into the season. He's focused on the Jazz making another deep postseason push, but he's also thinking about the camp he hosts for youths in his hometown.
Last year's camp was a big success, drawing about 350 kids ages 7-17. Boozer said he hopes to teach and mentor even more this year.
"It's going to be great to come back for another year. I'm really looking forward to teaching the kids some fundamentals and getting a chance to give back to my community," he said. "I'll have some other (NBA players) with me, and it should be fun. There's a new high school so we'll have more gyms this year and more kids. We'll have kids from all over the state and kids from down South come up."
At last summer's inaugural camp, Boozer brought former Duke teammates Jay Williams and Corey Maggette. Boozer said he's not yet sure who is coming with him this summer because scheduling conflicts must be worked out, but he promised big fun.
Boozer said the response he got from the community was so positive he wants to host the camp every year.
"I was just happy the kids enjoyed it. That's the biggest thing for me," he said. "I got so much feedback from parents and kids, telling me how much fun they had and how much they learned. And it will be a lot of the same; we'll teach fundamentals and work on skills, play games and have the kids compete for a camp championship."
The camp will run Aug. 2-6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will cost $185 per kid, with half of the proceeds benefiting Boozer's nonprofit foundation in the fight against sickle cell anemia, a debilitating disease that affects red blood cells, turning them crescent shaped and making it difficult for them to pass through small blood vessels. Tissues that do not receive normal blood flow can become damaged and people who suffer from the disease can be in a lot of pain.
Boozer's son, Carmani, suffered from sickle cell disease until receiving an expensive, experimental bone marrow transplant, but Boozer continues to give back to others afflicted with the disease who may not have the means to seek help.
"Half of the proceeds go to my Boozer's Buddies foundation that helps sickle cell research and for kids that either need the medicine or the cost to help fight the disease, or to cure the disease like for my son," Boozer said. "It's for a great cause and at the same time, it's a great opportunity to learn about basketball from pros."