"ENJOY being active and have fun with a basketball in your hands" was the message from Melbourne United's Adam Ballinger on Wednesday as he visited four Bendigo primary schools.
Among the schools Ballinger stopped in at for a short clinic ahead of the club's Junior Basketball Camp in Bendigo later this month was Camp Hill Primary School.
"The kids really enjoy it and you love going into the primary schools, in particular, because the kids are just happy... they are ready to learn and play basketball," Ballinger said.
"I've come up for the day to visit four schools in quick succession and it's really good to be able to get back into regional Victoria after the past couple of years we've had.
"As a club we've always felt really supported here in Bendigo, so it's nice to get back up here for the day and get around the schools."
Bendigo is a regional city Melbourne United knows well given the club played three NBL games at the Red Energy Arena (Bendigo Stadium) during the 2021 season.
United is also the club of former Bendigo Braves' junior Matthew Dellavedova, who headed home to Victoria last year following eight seasons in the NBA, which included winning a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers alongside LeBron James in 2016.
"We really felt supported when we played our games up here in Bendigo," said Ballinger, who before embarking on his NBL career in Australia was part of Michigan State's 2000 NCAA championship team.
"We feel like there's a lot of Melbourne United fans we'd love to reconnect with again after being separated for a while, so it's good to be back."
Camp Hill Primary School grade 3-4 teacher Trent Barry said his pupils had relished the chance to learn some basketball skills off Ballinger during the clinic.
"After the past couple of years with COVID it's really nice to be able to invite people back into the school and have programs like this for the kids. The kids have known about today for a while and they have been looking forward to it," Barry said.
Melbourne United will hold its 1 Day Junior Basketball Camp at Bendigo's Red Energy Arena on Wednesday, June 29, from 10am to 4pm.
Register at events.melbourneutd.com.au
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