Kids learn Warriors way from Turiaf at Justin-Siena

2010-05-03T00:00:00Z Kids learn Warriors way from Turiaf at Justin-SienaBy MARTY JAMES Executive Sports Editor Napa Valley Register

Organizers of a Warriors Basketball Camp kept Ronny Turiaf pretty busy Sunday.

Turiaf, a 6-foot-10 forward for Golden State, was at Justin-Siena High School’s Clark Gym, helping young players with their fundamentals and skill development — in particular big-man moves near the basket, such as taking an entry pass and scoring without too many dribbles and how to use their body in the post. Turiaf stressed proper form, footwork and technique as it relates to shooting.

Besides working as a camp coach, Turiaf also took time to sign caps, T-shirts and uniforms during a shooting clinic. He had his picture taken with each camper by a staff photographer for the Warriors.

All in all, he didn’t have any complaints.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to give back to the community, especially to kids,” said Turiaf, who recently completed his fifth NBA season and his second with the Warriors.

“Like I was telling them earlier, I never had the chance to really go to basketball camps, where I had pros, that would give me advice, that would talk to me about stuff that they’ve been through. I wish I did.”

Turiaf appeared in 42 games with 20 starts during the 2009-10 season and averaged 4.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.29 blocks in 20.8 minutes per game for Golden State, which was hit hard by injuries and played shorthanded for the entire season. The Warriors still averaged 108.8 points per game to rank second in the NBA.

Turiaf missed 39 games due to injury/illness and is getting treatment on his knee. He’s still not all the way back, but that didn’t stop him from showing up and leading his group of youths in different drills.

“It’s about those kids,” he said. “It’s awesome to just see the smile on their face, to see the smile on their parents’ faces. I’m happy to help them, because I didn’t have that help growing up.”

Also helping out as a coach was Ryan Wessels, a 2003 Vintage High School graduate, who played basketball for the Crushers, Napa Valley College and San Francisco State. Wessels, who will graduate this month with a degree in kinesiology, is hoping to further his career by playing in Denmark or Brazil. He played in the San Francisco Pro-Am summer league last year.

“I want to play as long as I can really,” said Wessels, who has hired an agent. “I love the game. I still think my best basketball is ahead of me.

“A few different places have shown a little bit of interest. Something will hopefully work out here.”

This is the fourth year in a row that Wessels has coached at Warriors Basketball Camps, which has expanded to numerous locations throughout Northern California. More than 30 camp sessions and clinics will be conducted around the Bay Area. There are Future Stars camps, high potential camps, high intensity skills clinics, week-long sessions, and shooting clinics.

A week-long Warriors Basketball Camp, available to boys and girls ages 7 to 15 of all skill levels and abilities, will take place at Justin-Siena from July 12-16.  Campers who sign up before June 2 will receive a $25 discount and everyone attending the camp will receive two tickets to a 2010-11 Warriors home game. It marks the fourth consecutive summer that Warriors Basketball Camp has held sessions at Justin-Siena.

Sunday’s camp was a shooting clinic. Turiaf talked to the group about all the time that two Warriors’ players, Stephen Curry and Anthony Morrow, spend on their game.

Curry, a guard out of Davidson, was a unanimous selection to the 2009-10 NBA All-Rookie First Team. A three-time Western Conference Rookie of the Month selection, Curry ranked second among rookies in scoring (17.5) and finished first in assists (5.9), steals (1.9), minutes (37.2), free throw percentage (.885) and three-point percentage (.437). In addition, Curry’s 166 three-pointers made led all rookies.

“The way that he carried this team toward the end of the season was unreal,” said Turiaf. “If you look at his stats, month for month, every month he actually increased all of his categories. He was very consistent throughout the year. Stephen had a great season. Like I told him, I was very happy to be a part of it, to just see him grow.

“He can definitely score, he can pass, he can rebound. He can do so much good stuff out there on the basketball court. People want to follow him — he has charisma. I really enjoy playing with him and I think that he’s a future All-Star.”

Curry was the Western Conference’s Rookie of the Month for March and April. He teamed with Monta Ellis and the two combined to average the most points, rebounds, assists and steals out of any guard duo in the NBA.

“Those two guys are lightning fast,” said Turiaf. “Those two guys can make plays for others. It’s a tremendous backcourt. It’s a definite pleasure when you can get 50, 60 points out of the backcourt. It makes things easier for everybody else.”

Don Nelson broke the record for the most NBA regular season wins in history as a head coach. Nelson tied the record in Toronto on April 4 and recorded career win No. 1,333 three days later in Minnesota. The record was previously held by Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens.

Turiaf played 25-plus minutes on 14 occasions last year, averaging 7.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.43 blocks per game. He shot a career-high 58.2 percent from the field and scored 10-plus points seven times. He also led the team in blocks 21 times.

“Even though the season wasn’t as successful as everybody would have wanted, we definitely made the best out of it,” said Turiaf, a team captain, who was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft. “We had guys that came from different backgrounds that had to adjust. I think it shows you that basketball is a universal language — people play it everywhere. We had a whole bunch of guys just trying to work together in order to make something happen and success happen.”

Turiaf, a Gonzaga graduate who grew up on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean, anticipates a smoother ride for Golden State next year.

“We’ve had our share of bumps in the road,” he said. “Now we’re going to hit a freeway and it’s going to be a straight line for a long time.”

Turiaf was named the recipient of the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for February in recognition of his efforts in the community and for his ongoing philanthropic and charitable work. The NBA honored Turiaf in part for his ongoing efforts to raise awareness and funding for the prevention, detection, and treatment of life-threatening heart conditions. The Warriors’ player had open-heart surgery in 2005.

“It’s just something that’s very important to me,” he said. “You can make it from heart surgery, from open heart surgery — you can have success on the basketball court and you can have success in your life.”

To sign up for Warriors Basketball Camp, or for more information, go to www.warriors.com or call (510) 986-5310.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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