GREAT FALLS — Former NBA player and CMR High School alum Josh Huestis returned to Great Falls this week for his fifth annual youth basketball camp. The Josh Huestis Foundation is in the middle of its four-day camp with participants ranging from fourth grade to high school seniors.
“I knew growing up that if I ever made it to the high level that I wanted to get at, I wanted to find a way to give back,” said Huestis. “To be for these kids who I wish I had growing up, this is a great way to do that.”
With nearly 150 campers, the groups were split into different groups based on their grade. Fourth through six graders stuck together at Great Falls High while seventh and eighth graders occupied the auxiliary gym at CMR. The high schoolers had their group in the CMR fieldhouse while they developed their skills.
The younger groups focused on basic fundamentals like ball handling and passing, but also learned new things such as defensive positioning. A few of the campers have attended this event in the previous years and expressed why they choose to keep coming back.
“It’s really fun but it’s really helped me this past year,” said Haris Bumgarner. “My ball handling has gotten better and all-in-all I just got better at basketball.”
Huestis has been very active on the Montana basketball scene lately, looking to help kids reach the next level and improve the game within the Treasure State.
"My goal is to help it catch up. For as long as I can remember, from the time I was playing here, basketball in Montana has always been five to ten years behind," Huestis siad. "There’s a lot of great basketball here and there is a lot of great players. My goal is to help develop it and to help grow the game to where we catch up to Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and places like that. I think Montana basketball has a lot to offer."
Not only has he been helping the kids on the court but he also helps the children off the court. Every year the foundation hosts a charity raffle with all proceeds going towards a shopping spree at Scheels for twenty foster children. The raffle will have auctioned items such as signed gear from Huestis, Serge Ibaka and Chauncey Billups. Tickets are on sale Thursday, June 22, at CMR.