The renowned Harlem Wizards visited Moab on Monday, Feb. 17 and brought some basketball tricks and hoops knowledge to the Grand County High School gym. The Wizards are a professional basketball exhibition team that tours the world to help non-profits raise funds.
The Grand County High School cheerleading squad was the primary beneficiary of the Wizards’ trip to Moab.
Monday morning, the Wizards held a clinic for school children and according the GCHS Cheer Advisor Rae Lynn Mason, 49 youngsters signed up for the event. Eric “Broadway” Jones and Devon “Livewire” Curry, both natives of New York City, introduced themselves and put the kids to work right away.
Humor and fantastic tricks are a prime feature of Wizards’ shows, but Jones and Curry are at heart professional basketball players. Playing the game the right way should come before any tricks or stunts.
Jones and Curry explained basketball from the ground up to the youngsters who attended the clinic. The children ran laps and did jumping jacks to warm up. The kids did quick up-and-down court runs, skipping, side motion hops and the “Frankenstein” walk in an effort to get a feel for movement on the court. Jones and Curry conducted dribbling, passing, defensive and shooting drills.
Jones professed his love for the game of basketball and emphasized defense is often overlooked, but good defense is his favorite part of the game. As the clinic came to an end, in a tight huddle, Jones addressed the children and said: “Today you got better. Today you challenged yourselves. Today you worked as a team and learned how to be disciplined. Today you gained some skills about playing the game of basketball.”
Jones asked the children if they had a good time and learned something. The answer was a resounding “yes’” to both questions.
On Monday night, the Wizards brought some basketball magic to Grand County High School. For one night only, some lucky locals like Ben Byrd, Michelle Bertuzzi and Ty Shumway got an opportunity to play against professional ballers.
The locals called themselves the Grand Marvels and they lost, but that was an expected part of the fun. When asked what her game plan for the evening was, Marvels coach Krista Wilson stammered and laughingly said: “to win big.”
The audience was treated to an interactive show with gravity-defying dunks, half court over the shoulder shots and ad-hoc comedy. At one point, the basketball game morphed into a football game. All the Wizards players interacted with fans and signed merchandise before and after the show.
To round out the evening, Classic Air Medical raffled off a scenic tour ride to benefit the Camey family, which on Feb. 9 lost their husband and father, pastor Vilsar Camey, and son and brother, Israel Camey, in a downtown Moab traffic crash.