Los Angeles-based coach Gil Llewellyn brought his Game Time Basketball Camp to Tooele last week, teaching about 50 kids from ages 3-17 not only about the game of basketball, but the game of life as well.
Llewellyn, well-respected in basketball circles for his work with Game Time, USA Basketball and his newest project, BasketballSoulJour.com, as both a coach and a motivational life coach, was inspired to come to Tooele after meeting with Chad and Candace Hymas at a camp in Idaho where their son, Carter, was participating. Llewellyn suggested bringing a camp to Tooele, and it all came together fairly quickly.
“Chad and Candace were definitely instrumental in getting the camp put on in a six-week period,” Llewellyn said. “We went from no kids to almost 50 kids.”
Llewellyn’s camps have earned him praise from the likes of former NBA players Thurl Bailey and Mark Jackson, as well as from coaches, parents and players of all levels. Llewellyn’s focus is on ball-handling with a lot of drills and game situations, though there is far more to a Game Time camp than just basketball, he said. He takes a very hands-on approach to help campers with anything they might need, whether it’s with their basketball skills or something else that is going on in their lives.
“I think that personal development, when you look at it in the lens of the overall world, is so much more important than the basketball development — even though we absolutely help basketball,” he said. There’s a lot of stuff outside the basketball that’s life-related that these camps have an opportunity to help with.
“I love basketball, but I really love, more importantly, teaching and reaching and connecting with people,” he added. “There are many stories that have nothing to do with basketball that are even more important. (Stuff) happens and things come up, but if you can fall back on basketball or what you learned from that, that’s going to be very helpful even if you just need to get out, get some shots up to clear your head and get some space. If you use the game for enhancement and growth, there are tremendous opportunities.”
Llewellyn said he gets just as much out of the camp as the campers do. The former Los Angeles-area high school basketball player, who has gone on to play in numerous competitive tournaments well into his 40s, is an active participant in his camps — noting that he will take part in the games played.
“When I open a camp, I call it ‘setting the table,’” he said. “Every camp for me is an adventure — an unseen adventure. How do I find out how to help this person? How do I make an impact on the skill side of things and maybe sprinkle in some personal-development stuff that makes sense and applies right now? It’s a workout — I’m out there busting my butt pretty much the whole day. I definitely feel like I gain from that, I look forward to it and I enjoy it.
“I’m looking forward to coming back (to Tooele) — it was a pleasure.”
Llewellyn credited Chad and Candace Hymas for helping him get the camp organized, as well as Tooele High School assistant principal Travis McCluskey for his assistance in making the THS gymnasium available.
For more information on Game Time Basketball Camps and Llewellyn, visit www.gametimebasketballcamps.com.