SAN ANTONIO (June 11, 2018) - For the third consecutive year, Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) is hosting The Basketball Embassy's (TBE) Assembly 2018 on June 10-17 at Mabee Gymnasium. TBE is a company that assists aspiring student-athletes to work on their fundamental basketball skills, while honing the skills necessary to be a successful student. TBE strives to grow the game of basketball as well as serve the national basketball federations worldwide.
Chris Dial, the founder of TBE and the director of Assembly 2018, said, "We feel fortunate to be able to host the Assembly 2018 at OLLU. It means a lot to be here in San Antonio and to bring a little bit of the world back to San Antonio." Dial has directed several international basketball camps throughout several countries. He aims to grow the game of basketball and continues to find ways to utilize his domestic and international relationships to give back to communities through basketball.
Assembly 2018 is a camp for elite youth athletes and is not intended for players in the early stages of their basketball career. Campers who attend the Assembly 2018 are female and male athletes ages 15-17. Those attending the camp have been invited to attend and/or have requested an invitation to attend. The majority of the campers participating are international student-athletes and only 60 student-athletes from the United States received the opportunity to participate in the camp.
The camp features multiple sessions consisting of on-court practice, training sessions, swimming pool workouts and additional conditioning activities. All sessions are conducted by staff who specialize in each respective field. Campers also play basketball against San Antonio-area youth basketball teams. The participants also have the opportunity to showcase their talents to more than over 20 NCAA, NAIA and junior college coaches throughout the duration of camp.
OLLU Women's Basketball Coach Christopher Minner, a coaching ambassador for TBE and a special participant in Assembly 2018, stated, "The camp has been getting bigger and better every year. It is great exposure for our university and should help grow the brand of OLLU. The fact that more than 100 student-athletes, with 70 of them being international students, provides us a tremendous opportunity to reach out to other parts of the world and showcase our school."
International campers participating in the camp are representing their home countries of Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia and Lithuania. The campers were afforded the opportunity to attend this elite camp through the U.S. Department of State's Sports Diplomacy Division programs and are part of the Sports Visitor Program.
TBE camper Aleksei Zavoronkov, a native of Estonia, commented, "This experience is teaching me to think and deal with things in a positive way. In terms of basketball, my skills are already improving…and it's difficult."
The Sports Visitor Program is utilized to assist international athletes in experiencing U. S. culture, society and values through youth sports. TBE assists the international athletes throughout this process by providing all campers with future shaping informational sessions that focus on capacity building, leadership, education and each individuals' aspirations.
Dial stated, "We use a holistic approach. We are trying to teach the athletes how to be a better person and just use basketball as the cloak to do that. We've got classroom sessions that discuss leadership, perseverance, approaching each day with integrity and discipline. We do a fitness aspect that not only talks about how to get stronger and faster, but we also discuss how to eat right, how you should sleep and staying hydrated. We are trying to incorporate the tangibles and intangibles, so the players and coaches will leave with a good experience."
Information regarding TBE is available online at https://www.thebasketballembassy.com. Additional information regarding the Sports Visitor Program is also available online at https://sportsvisitorenvoy.org/.
Minner concluded, "Women's basketball has benefitted from this by meeting and recruiting international athletes we would have never had the chance to recruit. Hopefully, we can continue this great relationship with The Basketball Embassy and continue to make OLLU women's basketball the best women's college basketball program in South Texas."