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NBA star Shaedon Sharpe opens door for other young players to develop basketball skills



It was a gym filled with the sound of basketball balls slamming the court or slipping through twine.

Friday marked the first of free, weekly basketball drop-in sessions at the Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre.

Karen Dillane is a recreation services supervisor with the City of London and told CTV News London, “Youth between 10 and 17 will be able to come out play some basketball, meet some friends, just get active on Friday nights.”

The free sessions are being sponsored by Shaedon Sharpe, and coordinated by his parents.

Video shared by Sharpe’s father, Robert, shows a 15-year-old Shaedon working on his already silky-smooth shooting stroke in the very same gym where the sessions are taking place.

“Shaedon used to come out to programs like this so you never know where Friday drop-in basketball is going to lead. Because of that we can offer this free opportunity,” said Dillane.

Three members of the Medd family were among those who came out to shoot some hoops at the Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre in London, Ont. on Jan. 20, 2024. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London)The London, Ont.-born Sharpe is in his second season with the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers. An emerging star, he is still only 20 years old. His success could also be an inspiration for young hoopsters, like 12-year-old Abigail Medd.

“He’s really impressive for his age and I really like how he’s doing in basketball. I like his performance, and all,” she said.

Three members of the Medd family were out working on their handles and shots on Friday.

Thirteen-year-old Daniel Caraballo said the game is his comfort zone.

“The fundamentals, the dribbling, the feel. It’s just my way of relaxing,” he explained.

The drop-in sessions are free but participants do have to register, and there’s a cap of 40 people.

The first series of eight sessions are already booked solid, but Dillane said more opportunities will come.

“The program right now is set to run until the end for March but the next round of registration will open up on March 22 and that will be for April until the end of June. We’re hoping this program continues as long as possible,” she said.

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