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Caleb Turrentine / The Tribune Players finished off the day by playing five-on-five scrimmages.

For the second consecutive week, the Star Seeds organization teamed up with a local high school to put on a youth camp. Tallassee welcomed the Star Seeds to the high school gym to host kids from across Elmore County for a basketball camp Saturday.

“The overall goal is to bring the community and the school together,” Star Seeds director LD Bell said. “We want to use basketball as a tool to meet and get on one accord. We’re using basketball and we are teaching these kids that if they want to play basketball in the future, these are the things you need to know.”

Bell said he wants to use sports to unite the kids for one purpose while teaching them about other life lessons along the way. Tallassee hosted more than 40 kids at Saturday’s camp with the help of Tallassee coach Keiven Mixson and a handful of Tallassee players who volunteered to coach.

“I give coach Bell all of the credit,” Mixson said. “He’s really the one that orchestrated all of this. What he does for this community and the schools here is incredible. He makes my job easier.”

Bell echoed that same sentiment about Mixson, saying he has been a longtime friend and has helped put Tallassee on the map for basketball in the state. He said the turnout and the enthusiasm during Saturday’s camp showed plenty of potential for the sport in Tallassee and the surrounding areas.

“You mark my words, basketball around here is the hype now,” Bell said. “It’s on its peak right now and with the talent I saw from some of the younger kids today, I believe basketball is going to be good here for another 10 years.”

Tallassee had five players help with the kids during the camp, including four from the current roster. Tyrek Turner, Jamicah Humphrey, Sandarius Hughley and Tay Collins each led a group of players through drills and scrimmages throughout the day.

“I definitely think it’s great for the community to see these guys out here,” Mixson said. “These younger kids look up to the older guys and this helps them understand the importance of giving back to the community. It makes me proud as a coach to see our kids helping out and mentoring these kids.”

Bell said the group of Tallassee’s players was a big reason why the camp garnered so much interest in such a short time.

He said many of the campers had seen the players on the court in a game setting but getting to be there with the team made a big difference.

“The first thing some of those kids ask is about which older guys are going to be there,” Bell said. “They don’t just want to go to their games; they want to be involved with those guys. They want to see that role model and they were excited about that.”

After starting the camp with shooting and layup drills, the players split into teams to scrimmage. Each high school player was put in charge of a group of five campers and there was plenty of competitive spirit between the coaches, players and campers.

“That’s one of the characteristics we try to instill in our players,” Mixson said. “It’s about wanting to be the best you can be and hating to lose. You can learn a lot from losing but it’s about that will to get better and to compete.”

Bell and Mixson both said they hope to continue the camp together in the future after the success of Saturday’s event. They want to see the sport continue to grow while building a program that lasts longer than the current group at the high school level.

“For this to be the first time, this was awesome,” Bell said. “We had kids from everywhere. I’m just glad we can have guys from Eclectic and Tallassee get together to teach these kids it’s not about which school you go to. We had a wonderful day.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.