Lace up your high-tops, grab your basketball and get ready to get schooled by NBA basketball player Luke Ridnour.
A point guard for the Charlotte Bobcats, Ridnour got his start playing for Blaine High School and is returning to his roots this summer to host a basketball camp in Blaine. He said his plan is to teach local kids the life lessons of the game while raising
money for the Blaine Community Pavilion project along the way.
“I haven’t done a camp in a few years, but I really wanted to get it going again and give back to the community that gave me so much,” Ridnour said.
The camp for boys and girls will be split into two groups for 5- to 7-year-olds and 8- to 12-year-olds. The idea is to teach kids the fundamentals of basketball, but perhaps more importantly, the lessons that go along with it.
“There are so many life lessons you can learn from the sport. There are good times and bad times, and it’s about how you respond to those situations,” Ridnour said. “For me, my faith in Jesus Christ is a big part of who I am, and I’m excited to share my faith with the kids. The camp is about teaching good qualities of teamwork, playing hard, sportsmanship, but at the same time letting them know that there’s more to life than doing well in sports.”
Ridnour said he’s organizing the basketball camp not only to introduce the next generation to basketball but also to raise money for a community cause. Proceeds from the three-day camp will go to help construct a covered pavilion for community recreation and functions.
The multi-purpose pavilion would be large enough to play basketball and other sports in and would be open for groups to hold functions and events. Plans drafted in 2012 describe a wood-frame structure with bathrooms, a translucent roof and sides that can be lowered during inclement weather.
A collaboration between several community stakeholders including the Blaine branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Whatcom County, the Blaine Senior Center, the city of Blaine and others, the project gained ground in 2012 with a $25,000 donation from Blaine businessman Mel Hollinger and a matching donation from Rotary Club of Whatcom County North. Fundraising efforts were scaled back during the closure of Semiahmoo Resort in late 2012. With Ridnour’s support, the entities involved in planning the facility have reconvened to get the ball rolling again. Mike Kent, fundraising chairman for the project, said the campaign goal is to raise $290,000 and that $169,551 has been raised so far.
“I think it’s a great project that the whole community will benefit from, and I’m excited to get involved,” Ridnour said.
Ridnour and his team, the Charlotte Bobcats, made it to the NBA playoffs in April but were swept by the Miami Heat. It was Ridnour’s third trip to playoffs in his NBA career.
“You play a long season to try and make it to playoffs, and it’s always fun when you do,” he said. “It was a good experience for me, and the team I’m on is pretty young so for those guys to get a taste of it is good.”
Now in his 11th year in the NBA, Ridnour was traded to the Bobcats from the Minnesota Timberwolves in February in a deal that brought Gary Neal and him to Charlotte in exchange for Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien. Ridnour was drafted in 2003 to the Seattle SuperSonics, where he was the starting point guard in the 2004/05 season. Before that, Ridnour was a standout at the University of Oregon where he and Luke Jackson led the Ducks to the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament twice. He set a school record for most assists in a season with 218, and made a Pacific-12 Conference-record 62 consecutive free throws.
It all started in Blaine. Ridnour was the most well-known basketball player to ever wear Borderite orange and black, and he led the Borderites to two state titles. He went on to huge success in basketball, but despite the fame and fortune a professional basketball career has brought him, he said his memories of playing for Blaine High School stand out.
“I’ve played at every level, high school, college and the NBA, and I still say high school was the most fun time I had playing basketball. You’re in a small town, you know everybody, you grew up playing with the same guys since first grade, and to be able to go and win state championships – those times at Blaine are some of my fondest memories playing basketball,” Ridnour said.
The Luke Ridnour Basketball Camp runs Wednesday to Friday, August 6–8 in the Blaine High School gymnasium in two sections. For 5- to 7-year-old boys and girls, the camp runs from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. all three days. The cost for kids in that age group is $45. For children aged 8-12, the camp runs from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and costs $75. Camp registration is open until August 5. For more information and to sign up for the camp, go to lukeridnour13.com
or call 360/756-2862.