By Hayley Alperin
“Starting this camp was an opportunity for my brother and I to work with kids and teach them, while we are also giving back to our community,” said Jarron Collins, 32, an alumnus of Harvard-Westlake and currently an NBA player.
The Collins twins, who graduated from Harvard Westlake in 1997 and Stanford in 2001, now have an ongoing summer program at their alma mater, which they have been running for multiple years. The brothers are both currently “free agents”, but hope to play another year or two before they retire.
“When I retire I want to help kids learn the game of basketball and this is a way of giving back to my community,” said Collins.
This summer program created by the Collins brothers is an all-day, four-day intensive basketball camp for fifth-eighth graders. At this camp they learn basic skills such as ball handling, footwork and shooting techniques.
“I know they will not be able to learn and grasp the main concepts of basketball, like “pick and rolls”, but I enjoy teaching them the little lessons like respect, maintaining eye contact and simply about the game,” Collins said. “My favorite part about starting this camp and coming every day is seeing the improvement in each of the kids.”
Collins, who has been dedicated to basketball since he was 6, knew he was going to devote his life to basketball when he was 12 years old and was a 6’4″ player. At this height, Collins admitted to knowing he was going to have a career in this sport and revolve his life around it.
His first goal was to get a Division I scholarship to a school, and after that was completed, he transformed his dream to becoming an NBA player.
“Everything starts as a goal. There are no short cuts in that. One must be extremely prepared and put in the work on the court and a lot of long hours in the gym,” Collins said.
A main aspect of the Collins’ basketball camp revolves around character building on top of basketball training. Harvard-Westlake alumnus and now assistant UCLA basketball coach Scott Garson lectures the 35 kids attending the camp, on legendary coach John Wooden’s character beliefs and ideas.
“All you athletes could not have asked for better role models then the Collins brothers, who will help prepare you for life and to be the best you can possibly be every day,” said Garson.
“Character means a lot to me. Especially someone who is a zero maintenance player and has a sturdy foundation. I like working with and playing with good people,” Collins said.
Hayley Alperin is a sophomore at Crossroads School in Santa Monica. She wrote this story while attending Journalism for Print and New Media at Harvard-Westlake Summer School.