Hometown hero turned camp creator.
Vitto Brown, a Bowling Green High School graduate and phenom, played in consecutive Final Fours while at Wisconsin.
On Saturday he hosted his second hometown basketball camp at the Bowling Green Community Center.
“It was good. I actually was shocked. I was stressin’ a little bit last night. I didn’t know how many kids were going to be there. Not a whole lot signed up ahead of time,” Brown said.
“We ended up having 21 which is my number, my jersey number, so it might mean something, who knows.”
Brown, who did not host a camp in 2018, held his first session two years ago. The attendance was much better this time around.
The message has been the same.
“At the end of the day, hard work was the main message,” Brown said. “I even told them no matter if it’s basketball that you want to pursue, or whatever career path you want to take — it’s going to take hard work regardless.”
The campers, ranging from grades 3-12, participated in drills consisting of shooting, dribbling and defense.
Some drills required the shuffling of feet, proper closeout form, opposite-hand layups and especially proper shooting form.
“I tried to hammer home that you have to have an all-around game. A lot of times we see these guys shooting all of these deep threes. We have to start the foundation,” Brown said. “So we had a station that was solely for form shooting. Shooting close range and then working your way out because I think that’s important.
“We did a good mixture of things, but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just shooting, wasn’t just dribbling.”
Repetitions certainly impact growth as a player. Talent is important, too. Consistency is key.
But Brown made sure the campers understood something else. Always work hard.
“That was the message we instilled in each drill, each game that we played. Just going hard, trying, believing,” he said. “I told them it was most important.
“I literally would not … people think because I’m 6-8, it’s like oh you made it to college because you’re 6-8. I’m like man I had four other 6-8 guys in my high school, and that’s nothing against them I’m just saying it took going the extra mile.
“I told them I would come to practice an hour beforehand in high school, do a full workout, then practice, then stay after, too. And that’s what it took — it would take two to three workouts a day versus one hard practice and thinking that was enough.”
Brown, who has been home since late March when his professional G League season ended, has played pro ball for two seasons now. He now awaits an invitation to the Boston Celtics’ summer league in Las Vegas.
But one thing is certain. Without hard work, Brown would not be in the position he is today. And that includes the ability to host a camp for the kids who are growing up where Brown did. Passing along messages that hold true beyond the hardwood.
“It’s not going to be fair all the time. There’s going to be people that you know you’re better than, there’s going to be people that are better than you,” Brown said. “Things are out of your control sometimes, but control what you can control. You can control how hard you work, you can control the time you put in and what you believe in.
“Then everything else, you just have to let the chips fall as they may.”