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Elementary students get tips from college players

Megan Salomons stands waist high compared with her rivals on the gym floor.

No matter.

This 10-year-old was ready to dribble with some of Red Deer College’s finest basketball players including 1.98-metre (6 ft-6 in) forward Demaine Nelson.

On Tuesday, the youngster and the rest of her Grade 5 team at Mattie McCullough Elementary School played against some Kings and Queens basketball players in a fun matchup.

The entire school came out to watch, cheering loudly each time one of their own scored a point.

The college players have been going around to Red Deer schools to teach Grade 5 players how to improve their skills.

After the game was over, proud parents and others took photos of the four Queens and four Kings with the 20-some youngsters.

For Salomons, taking part was a pretty big deal.

“It was fun and I really enjoyed it,” said the girl.

“They taught us on how we could shoot better.”

She figures that one day, she’ll become a varsity player just like them.

After the snapshots were taken, the youngsters had the chance to ask any question they wanted: How tall are you? How many games do you play? If you could play another sport, what would it be?

Miranda Honey, a first-year player with the Queens, has already been to a couple of schools this season.

“I love interacting with the kids,” said Honey, 18.

“It’s fun to teach them and help them out.

“We just teach them basics like shooting and dribbling.”

Raised in Toronto, Nelson has been playing basketball since he was six years old.

He learned back then how to shoot well, plus the love of the game was instilled in him early on.

He hoped the younger players would learn one thing — that it’s not how good you are, but your passion for something.

“If you are not that good now, you will be later on down the road, as long as you stay true to your craft,” said Nelson, who’d like to play basketball overseas with the Euroleague.

Kelly Roslinsky, coach of the Grade 5 girls team, said this is a great partnership between schools in Red Deer and Red Deer College.

Recently, the boys and girls teams at Mattie played during at college game intermissions.

She said it’s great to see such a connection develop between varsity athletes and the youngsters. And maybe one day, these green players will follow in their varsity players’ footsteps, so that would be great too, Roslinsky said.



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