Sam Mitchell Basketball Camp gets underway

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It all started with a very close friendship.

Two basketball players from Columbus had a big dream, and it was the vision of Marc Upshaw and Sam Mitchell that led to Tuesday's opening day of the Sam Mitchell Basketball Camp at Fort Benning.

Former University of Rhode Island basketball star Marc Upshaw said, "This is one of the things Sam and I have always talked about doing," said Upshaw, a former Rhode Island forward, "coming back home and giving back to the community so it's a blessing and honor to be back."

While the purpose of this camp is to teach kids the fundamentals of basketball, Mitchell, a 13-year NBA veteran who coached the Toronto Raptors for five seasons, and Upshaw want these kids to walk away with more than just court skills.

"Our camp is more than just basketball," said Mitchell. "It's about trying to teach kids life skills and how to cope in certain situations. Sometimes you shouldn't follow the crowd. You have to learn to make the right decisions and stand alone and sometimes that means standing by yourself because that's the right thing to do and that's what you have to do."

Over one hundred kids were there for the first day and having a blast. Six-year old Sarah Flowers said her favorite part of camp was that she got to throw the basketball in the hoops.

Keynan Christopher was also enjoying the experience.

"So far, camp is going real good," Christopher said. "We're learning a lot of fundamentals to keep us in shape and get us ready for the next level."

Yes, it all started with a dream.

Now these kids are inspired to dream big too.

The Sam Mitchell Basketball Camp will wrap up on Thursday.