The Pierre T.F. Riggs Gymnasium will get a special visit from a basketball legend on Saturday when Duke alum and former NBA player Christian Laettner, with the help of former Governor star Sam Willard and Allan Bertram from Sacred Hoops Basketball, host the Christian Laettner Camp.
For those unaware, Sacred Hoops Basketball was started about a year and a half ago. They provide opportunities for kids from smaller areas with a chance to improve their basketball skills and play on travel teams. Sacred Hoops also provides coaching clinics so that coaches can improve. Last year, Sacred Hoops raised $83,000 in scholarships to help athletes that couldn’t afford to play basketball.
Bertram told the Capital Journal that Saturday’s camp will teach kids better fundamentals.
“We’ll work with the kids on their footwork and their live ball moves,” Bertram said. “Right now, the goal is to prepare these kids for their upcoming basketball season, which starts in a couple of weeks.”
There will be two different groups in the camp:
Boys and girls from second grade through sixth grade will play from 1-2:15 p.m. CT.
Kids from seventh grade through senior year of high school will play from 2:30-4:15 p.m. CT.
Camp fees for the younger group are $20, while the older group fee is $30.
Laettner’s involvement in the camp comes is due to Bertram and Laettner’s friendship.
“I’ve known him for awhile, and he’s been really good at helping out the kids in the state,” Bertram said. “We’ve been everywhere. We held a camp in Onida last year, so we figured we should come to Pierre this year.”
Laettner is widely regarded as one of the best college basketball players in the history of the game. He led the Duke Blue Devils to the Final Four all four years of his career. He’s probably most well known for hitting a game winning shot against Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA East Regional Finals. Laettner’s college success caused him to be drafted third overall, with a spot on the infamous Dream Team that stormed through the 1992 Summer Olympics. Bertram said that Laettner will be around to sign any autographs for the kids and answer any questions they may have.
Also on Saturday is the Sacred Hoops Christian Laettner Night for the Kids at Drifters in Fort Pierre. There will be a VIP Meet and Greet from 7-7:45 p.m. CT, which will be followed by a Q and A session with Laettner from 8-8:45 p.m. CT. The nightcap will be a concert by the Josh Gilbert Band from South Carolina. There will be a silent auction during Saturday night’s activities. Tickets for the Q and A session and the concert are $20. Tickets for the concert only are $10. VIP tables for the Meet and Greet can be reserved by contacting either Bertram or Willard.
For more information on Sacred Hoops and the Christian Laettner Camp, go to sacredhoopsbasketball.com, or to the Sacred Hoops Facebook page.