On Saturday, Jan. 17, Corpus Christi CYO Basketball program had the unique fortune of a visit to Corpus Christi gym from Assistant Coach Jose Mori and several members of the Hofstra University Pride" girls varsity basketball clinic. Approximately 50 boys and girls showed up with open minds, ready to learn from the best around.
Trustee Linda Fairgieve came down in support of the CYO program and was quite inspirational, she spoke to kids about being in team sports as well supporting each other and having to depend on each other. That being a member of a team means relying on each other or having someone rely on you. Each team is only as good as all of the players, be it the better players or the lesser players each is as important as the next. Linda spoke of when she was growing up, CYO was the first organization open to girls as far as competitive sports.
At this Hofstra Coach Mori started the girls off with a talk on team play and coming to practice as you would in school ready to listen and learn, and the kids were listening to every word, the gym was quiet enough to hear a pin drop. He then broke the children into two different groups. The one group was taught rebounding, positioning and low post moves by Senior forwards Tara Dilworth (25) out of Sparta, NJ and Rume Pela (45) out of Cherry Hill, NJ. It is rumored that one of the clinic Coaches, Mark Venus, who believes he still has two years of college eligibility left, spoke to Rume Pela, where he was trying to get some tips on the art of dunking a basketball. Rume stated she was able to dunk a basketball and Mark alleges that he also can dunk, or maybe that he once did. The other group was taught passing and shooting by senior guards, Staceyann Claxton (12), one of Hofstra's point guards, out of the Bronx and 3 point specialist Urszula Smolarek (20) out of Gorzow, Poland.
At this point Coach Jose ran a clinic for all of the kids on the art of playing defense and taught some defensive stances. Explaining to all the children that the most important part of basketball is defense and how you can run your offense off of your defense. Upon completion of the clinic, Coach Jose and the team members availed themselves to all for autographs as well as giving out pictures and Hofstra Pride memorabilia to any and all.
The day was deemed a complete success by all, Clinic coach Sean O'Connor availed himself to Hofstra Coach Mori, to give him some hints on recruiting. We are quite sure Jose was very appreciative of your information. Clinic Coach Mike Fragiacomo was chomping at the bit ready to come out of retirement to play a full court game against the Pride girls. It was also rumored that Coach Tommy Rudolph was inquiring how much the Prides coordinator yearly salary was and Coaches Nancy and Keith Gessner who have year in and year out have brought Corpus Chirsti's team into the playoffs, were believed to have to gotten an official interview for a job on the Hofstra bench.
The CYO Board would like to thank director of basketball operations for Hofstra University, Beth Shackel for putting this all together, and Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack, who was unable to attend due to a prior engagement for the outstanding support to Corpus Christi CYO. The whole program at Hofstra must be commended for the way they go out of their way to extend themselves to make all the programs in CYO so special. Our teams have had the good fortune of playing games at halftime at Hofstra, being announced at several different games as well as tickets to any and all home games. At all of the games that Corpus Christi has attended the players have made themselves available to anyone in our program for autographs, pictures or a few minutes of their time just to chat about basketball. I am not sure if the Hofstra program of these players truly realize the impact they have on the young children today. Even though they are big stars on a division 1 basketball team, they can still take the time to talk to their fans. Thank you to all involved in Hofstra and good luck throughout the season and remember defense-I love it, I love it.