By Brandon Robinson
Queens youngsters can learn to shoot like Melo at Queens College next month.
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony will host a two-day basketball camp at Queens College Aug. 3-4. This is the second year the NBA player will hold the program in the borough — last year’s clinic was held at St. John’s University.
“I’m really excited for my upcoming youth basketball camp in New York,” Anthony said via e-mail about Citi Camp Melo.
The program is open to boys and girls in first- through 12th-grades and focuses on basketball fundamentals.
“We had over 350 kids out last year and added a second session to grow it even more this year,” Anthony said.
Camp organizers expect somewhere between 275 and 350 kids to take part in each of the two sessions, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Participants will run drills to learn basketball basics and also compete in contests for special prizes.
The five-time all-star will be joined by several top high school and college coaches from the area like St. Francis Prep’s assistant girl’s varsity Coach Kevin Wagner and Hunter College assistant Coach Derrick Lawson.
“The kids see someone who was in their position many years ago, and they can relate to him,” Wagner said.
Organizers said groups will be small to ensure each pint-sized player gets personalized instruction, and Anthony is slated to talk about his life and journey through high school, college and the NBA.
“Whether they’re looking for the chance to play against some of the area’s top talent or simply play alongside some friends, it will happen at Camp Melo,” said Nick Berta, marketing manager for ProCamps, which develops, markets and operates Anthony’s camp.
“What’s unique about this camp is that it’s not just an appearance for Carmelo — this is Carmelo’s personal camp, and he really takes ownership of it,” he added.
So is there a possibility Melo may bring some of his NBA buddies to work with the kids?
“While there’s always a chance that he’ll bring some teammates along, Carmelo is running this solo,” Berta said.
Anthony led the NBA in scoring with 28.6 points per game in the league’s regular season and carried the Knicks to the second round of this year’s playoffs before the team was eliminated by the Indiana Pacers. A few months removed, Anthony said he is looking forward to the program here in New York.
“I’ve worked with ProCamps since my rookie year, and I am excited to see the camps continue to grow,” he said.
In the past few years, Anthony has come full circle. A Brooklyn native, he later moved to Baltimore and was then drafted by the Denver Nuggets before being traded to the Knicks. Now Melo is an inspiration for kids in New York City, according to his fellow camp coach.
“It’s fantastic for the kids from the borough of Queens to see a superstar of his caliber. He’s one of the top five players in the world,” said Wagner.