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June 29, 2012

'I won't forget it'

EAST CHICAGO - Mikel Dorsey made the trip from Michigan City with one goal in mind: To learn from an NBA player.

He wasn't disappointed Friday at East Chicago Central High School.

Dorsey was one of about 130 campers to work alongside Boston Celtics guard and former Boilermaker E'Twaun Moore at Moore's first basketball camp. The kids, ranging from fourth through ninth grades, worked on a variety of skills through drills.

And they also got to mingle with Moore, a key element in several kid's decisions to attend the camp.

"This would be my first time meeting professional basketball player, and I want to get the experience of how he does it, and I'll copy it how he does it," said Dorsey, 12. "I talked to E'Twaun. It was a good experience for me. I think I'll carry it around for the rest of my life and I won't forget it."

That's what Moore was hoping for.

"That's the connection I wanted, just for me to get a chance to hopefully inspire some kids," he said. "(I wanted them to) just take something away, even if they only learn just one thing or just see us, just give them a chance to hang around and see some people doing something positive and hopefully make them do well."

Moore initially had the idea for a camp in his hometown while still playing at Purdue. Then after he was drafted by the Celtics in the second round in 2011 and headed to Boston for his rookie season, he got brother Ezell and sister Ekeisha to handle the behind-the-scenes work setting up the camp.

Registration for the camp started only about one month ago, and Ezell Moore Jr. figured about 60 or 70 kids would attend.

But when that number doubled, he was excited.

"To get 130 kids is impressive," Ezell Moore Jr. said. "We feel like it's been well worth it, and we've had a great time so far."

That includes the campers.

The kids were separated into three groups, fourth and fifth graders, sixth and seventh graders and then eighth and ninth graders.

E'Twaun Moore stayed with the oldest group, as did about four other counselors. Ezell Moore Jr. took the youngest group out of the main gym and worked with them.

E'Twaun Moore's good buddy and current Celtics teammate JaJuan Johnson bounced around to different groups, as well as answered questions from campers at the end of the first day.

But it wasn't simply the NBA star power that drew all the campers.

Jelah Winfield, a 10-year-old from East Chicago, was one of about a dozen girls who attended the first day of the camp. She said her older sister went to school with E'Twaun Moore, so she knew of him.

Her reasons for attending were purely for basketball.

"I'm here because I think it will teach me more stuff about basketball that I didn't know," she said. "Whatever I learn, I get to teach one of my cousins or other sisters.

"I learned how to do defenses and how to do a three-man weave and passes and dribble."

E'Twaun Moore labeled the first day a success, and he's eager to finish the camp strong on Saturday and continue it next summer.

"Before I even left here, I saw some of the kids and I saw sometimes they wouldn't have a lot to do. I'm like, 'Kids don't play outside anymore,' " he said. "I was, 'I should have a camp for a couple days,' give them something positive to do."

Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2012. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited. E-mail GoldandBlack.com/Boilers, Inc.

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