As former WNBA player Coretta Brown walked through the halls of Southeast Bulloch High School, she noticed a few changes.
A few decades had passed since Brown laced up her sneakers to play on the hardwood as a Lady Yellow Jacket, but Brown made a promise to her community to be there for the annual Southeast Bulloch Youth Basketball Camp held on Wednesday.
Brown, along with current SEB basketball coaches John Page and Kristen Barnhill, spoke to a group of around 30-plus youth basketball players.
For Brown, the experience of coming back to Southeast Bulloch in order to teach young athletes about basketball was one she was proud to be a part of.
“I love it. Anytime I’m back home I love it. I hope to inspire the next big thing coming out of Southeast Bulloch. The gym that I played in though wasn’t as nice as this one,” said Brown, laughing. “We’ve come a long way since (1999), a long way.”
Southeast Bulloch’s youth basketball camp is one of the longest running youth basketball camps in Bulloch County, said Coach Page.
Camp counselors worked on player’s fundamentals such as passing, dribbling and ball security.
Brown, who gained the nickname ‘Downtown’ Brown at the University of North Carolina, said she hoped to inspire some of the younger children participating in the camp.
“I wanted to show them that you can make it and that I know what they’re going through. I came through these same country streets that they walk on daily,” Brown said. “Hopefully me being here and giving some encouraging words can help the next generation of players.”
Brown said she received an invite to the camp via a text from Coach Page. Brown said she couldn’t turn the offer down.
Page has coached at SEB for close to three decades and has a coaching career that spans over 35 years.
“I remember when Brown was here at our camps. It’s just good for me to see kids slowly develop and we have a lot of kids that keep coming back,” Page said. “(Brown) came through our camp and she had a great career at Southeast Bulloch. I don’t want to give all the credit to the camp though. Brown was a self-motivator and self-developed.”
Current SEB players also helped campers learn the fundamentals of the game. Varsity players from the boys and girls team helped run drills with the campers.
The camp is scheduled to last until June 5 and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Brown, however, will not be attending the other coaching sessions. The current head women’s basketball coach at Thomasville University said she will be coaching another camp at UNC, where she still holds the career record for three-pointers made.
“You have to have goals and that’s what I want to pass along to these kids I teach. Once you set a goal, work towards it,” Brown said. “Who’s to say you can’t be the next big star to come out of Southeast Bulloch? You can be if you work for it.”
Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.