PLITTERSDORF · It’s not every day that professional basketball players come to school for a training session. Bonn International School students had lots of fun in a special training session on Friday.
Sport is an international language and for the students at Bonn International School (BIS), they had an exciting chance to speak that language with professional basketball players from Telekom Baskets Bonn. Four Baskets players walked into BIS on Friday morning, including TJ DiLeo and Ron Curry, both from the U.S. state of New Jersey, Malcolm Hill from Illinois, and Nemania Djurisic from Montenegro. They came to BIS as part of the student training project from Deutsche Telekom and the Baskets team, called Baskets@school.
So was this visit all about work or was it just a fun thing for the Baskets players? Ron Curry, who is new on the team this year responds that it was fun for the players “because we do it for the love of the game. When I was young, I used to look up to the professional players” and he explains that now they have the opportunity to be there for the youth. From veteran TJ DiLeo’s perspective, “It’s just fun to see the kids having fun.” And fun they had.
When the students were told to line up for their free Telekom Baskets T-shirt, the decibel level increased noticeably. The practice got started when Baskets physical therapist Bogdan Suciu asked the students, “Sprechen Sie alle Deutsch?” He got a resounding “jein” from the large group of students from all around the world and carried on with the training in English. They began with one on one dribbling and shooting baskets, the pros cheering on the students and the trainers urging them on as well. Assistant Coach Chris O’Shea, originally from Alaska, also led the drills and the students responded with unbridled enthusiasm.
Francesca (13) said “I love basketball so it’s really cool and I’ve never met professional basketball players but I’ve been to the Baskets games so it’s really good to be able to do a practice with them in person.” Jake (15) was also in his element, “I’m a big fan of basketball so to have these guys come to the school, it’s really cool, it’s a great experience.” For Collin (14), he said this brought him “a really interesting way of looking at basketball, not just playing the game but also the physical aspect of preparing for it.” He added that he’s been to three or four Baskets’ games and has always been in the position of looking down at the players on the court, and now it was “great to meet them in person.”
At one point, the students had a breather as Coach O’Shea sat them down and explained the most important rules of the game. This was after Suciu had the students do some flexibility and strengthening exercises on the floor, requiring a good dose of effort.
On the Telekom website, Head of Sports Marketing at Telekom, Stephan Althoff says this unique program is about teaching kids to discover their potential, turning their individual skills into strengths. After the dribbling, passing and shooting drills, there was a mini-scrimmage for all participants. Ron Curry beamed as he threw a pass to a young player who took off with the ball across the court. Students, pros, teachers and trainers alike were all in, encouraging and cheering on the BIS students. It may not have been a professional game, but the atmosphere was electric.
Daniela Klinge from New Zealand was one of the physical education teachers from BIS helping to run the event. She said there was “much excitement” on the part of the students to see “professional athletes in the flesh.” Everyone had been actively participating whether they were basketball players or not. Physical education teacher Mr. Krebs was obviously enjoying the moment as well, out on the court, spurring the students on with great enthusiasm. It was clear that the sport of basketball was a language everyone understood and the students and staff alike will long cherish the day in the gym with the Bonn Telekom Baskets.