Former WSU star putting new twist on summer basketball camps

May 08, 2018

When Matt Vest comes home following an exhausting, nine-month basketball season in Germany, the former Wright State star is ready for …

More basketball.

Vest, who recently completed his fourth season in the professional ranks after graduating from WSU with a degree in business management in 2014, is starting his own youth basketball camp and putting a fresh twist on the summer staple.

“A lot of the camps I went to when I was younger felt like they just kind of rolled the balls out and had us play,” Vest said. “I want to do something different and introduce kids to a more-rounded approach to the basketball and do it in a way that represents things that I’ve learned from my younger days through my time in Europe.”

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Vest, who will be assisted by former WSU teammate and fellow European pro AJ Pacher, created the Base Basketball Camp. Open to boys ages 10-14, the camp will run June 11-15 where Vest played in his younger days, at Ascension Middle School in Kettering.

“One day we’re doing to do a strength and conditioning day,” Vest said. “One day we’re going to have a yoga day. And each day we’ll have different talks about being a good teammate, having good character and all those types of things that I learned along the way.

“This is a really good chance to teach them some things that maybe they’re not getting or haven’t thought about,” he added. “It’s still going to be 60-70 percent basketball. All the other stuff I want to drop in at a basic level.”

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The strength and conditioning program, for example, will not include any barbells or dumbbells but rather will involve a circuit of simpler, more basic exercises to introduce students to the importance of conditioning.

“It’s something that’s popular in Europe with the team’s I’ve been on,” he said. “We’ll just set up different stations and it will body weight workouts, like push-ups, chin-ups, squats and stuff like that. We don’t want kids lifting weights.”

The yoga day will feature Amy Fecher, the certified instructor who introduced Vest to the discipline at Wright State.

“She worked with the men’s basketball and golf teams at Wright State, and I’m really looking forward to work with her again,” Vest said. “She has her own studio and is great with kids.”

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After coming up with the initial idea, Vest relied on the insights from one of his teammates in Germany who runs a camp in his hometown and spent the past season putting everything together, designing the camp website — https://basebasketball.com — in addition to creating a Facebook page.

“The whole process of coming up with the idea and making the website and the Facebook page and dealing with insurance and all that was actually kind of fun,” he said. “I hadn’t done that kind of stuff since college. Since I graduated I’ve just been playing basketball. So using my mind in that way was kind of fun.”

Vest said in addition to a camp t-shirt, each student will receive an individual development plan.

If demand exceeds capacity, there will be a waiting list for a possible second camp June 25-29.

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Vest said he went to as many camps as he could when he was growing up and is looking forward to implementing some of the best practices from those experiences along with his new approach.

“When I was younger, I just wanted to play and go to the camps with the teams and players I liked to watch,” he said. “But I always left with a lot more than that. Maybe I didn’t realize it then, but as you get older you think back on those things, like how coach (Joe) Staley would run his camps and how he would talk to kids and teach them to handle themselves. That’s always stuck with me.

“I’ve wanted to do something like this and give back for a while,” he added. “I’m excited to get started.”