Nine years ago, Zach Collins could be found on the court at the Bill & Lillie Heinrich YMCA, working toward his NBA dream. Since then, he's graduated from Bishop Gorman, played for a national championship with Gonzaga, was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers, just completed his rookie season in the NBA, and Tuesday he hosted his first-ever basketball camp.
"Competitively, this is where I got that drive, that's where playing serious basketball started for me. It's pretty special to have a camp with my name on the shirt to do this," the Bishop Gorman graduate, and Portland Trailblazers center, Zach Collins said.
"He contacted us about coming back to Vegas, putting a camp together, so that he could come and deliver his message to the kids, talk about his story and more importantly, stay rooted within this community," Vegas Elite Basketball Club Director Brian Sitter said.
"I was one of them when I was growing up. I acted the same way. I'm glad they're willing to come up to me and realize I'm here for them. I'm just a regular dude that wants to help them be better," Collins said.
Standing at seven-feet tall, just about everyone has to look up to Zach Collins, but after this camp, these kids look up to him for a different reason.
"He was playing on this court not a long time ago and he made it to the NBA," camper Bella Overlock said.
"Just his perspective will help us be better. He made it that far and he can help us make it that far," said camper, Nicholas Overlock.
"It's fun to work with the kids and the fact that they're all here for my camp, completely surreal to me. So in that respect, I'm just going to have fun being here, being able to interact, being able to see a smile on their face," Collins said.
"We hope Zach coming here can show these kids, not everyone is going to make the NBA. But the tools and opportunity are here in Vegas, there is a place you can go to, learn the game the right way, hone your skills and let this sport take you to another place," Sitter said.
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