Former Manual Rams host 9th annual Booth Basketball Academy - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Former Manual Rams host 9th annual Booth Basketball Academy

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PEORIA, Ill (HOI) -- -

Ball is life the saying goes. And for the Booth brothers, it couldn't be more true.

For the ninth straight year, Derrick and David Booth partnered up to put on an instructional skills camp for boys and girls as young as nine through 16-years-old. And the best part. They do it for free. They want to give kids of all economic background the chance to advance their basketball skills and, more importantly, focus on life skills that will challenge them off the basketball court. 

"You know, basketball is one of those things that hooks the kids," former Manual coach, Derrick Booth, said. "That they don't mind coming out and playing. Once we get them here with a basketball in their hand, we can have these professional speakers come in talk about social skills, live skills. Those
things that really make a difference in their lives. The things that really make a difference in students being successful beyond their high school education."

Derrick left the manual rams sidelines after 16 seasons with the team to take on an administrative role with Peoria Public Schools. Although he loves his new job, there are the little things about basketball that he misses every single day.

"I definitely miss it," Booth said. "So this gives me the opportunity to get back in the gym and here the shoes squeakin' and the balls bouncing. That's 
something that I missed this summer. I enjoy my new role as director of social emotional, but it's good to be back in the gym and blowin' this whistle, that's for sure." 

The game has been a huge part of the brothers lives and they love to share that with the kids. 

"Every year we get great kids," former Manual Ram, David Booth, said. "We get great memories. It's fun to see the kids in the streets and they say, 'hey, I had a great time at your basketball camp'. But you know I think the most important thing is what they learn from our mentors and the seeds that are planted with them. So they can learn to be better people. We're trying to teach them skills for life, not just on the court, but off the court, as well." 

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