MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - In Eastern Kentucky, we love our basketball and we are also one of the hardest hit areas of the country when it comes to drug abuse.
Those two subjects sound unusual to compare, but some kids received an education on both of them Thursday night.
This looks like a normal basketball camp, but the goal of "Shoot Hoops Not Drugs" is to teach kids lessons that apply on and off the court.
Former UK basketball star Jeff Sheppard works with Operation UNITE host the camps.
“We want to teach the kids just a little bit about basketball and we teach the fundamentals, the simple things that are so important to learn at an early age and then we also teach some very important lessons in life,” Sheppard said.
Campers receive instruction free of charge.
“It gets you in shape and like you will be ahead of the other players around you,” Camper Blake Collins said.
While the kids get an assist with their basketball skills, Operation UNITE officials work with their parents, developing a game plan to educate their kids on the dangers of drug use.
Sheppard says the camp at Middlesboro High School was one of the most-attended camps he has hosted in eight years.
He will be hosting additional camps in Leslie and Breathitt Counties in the coming weeks.