Hunsaker stresses ‘hard work’ at camp

Former UVU star Ryan Toolson shows off the stroke that might get him into the NBA. Courtesy of UVU Athletics

The offseason didn’t keep basketball coach Dick Hunsaker away from the court or from coaching.

Hunsaker held his Basketball Fundamentals Camp June 21-25 for kids ages 7-17, in hopes of impressing the importance of hard work and basketball fundamentals.

“Nobody ever got good without hard work,” Hunsaker said. “You look at some of the pros, the guys I coached who are here, none of them got lucky with this. It comes with hard work and dedication.”

Several former and current players visited the camp as advocates for Hunsaker’s message, including former Wolverine star Ryan Toolson.

Like many of the kids, Toolson wasn’t considered anything special even in high school. Unlike many in that situation, he worked on his game, scored 63 points in a college game and played professionally in Europe.

The kids knew of Toolson’s accomplishments, but were surprised and impressed by his humble beginnings.

“It means a lot, because he’s just like a bunch of people that I know,” said Ryan Christofferson of Lehi High School. “It helps to know that I could maybe make it, too.”

That sense of eagerness was evident from all kids — from 7-year-olds who asked about Toolson’s favorite NBA player and team to high schoolers who mimicked Toolson’s shot and drills following his brief presentation.

Hunsaker waved off the prevailing theory that players today don’t focus as much on fundamentals as past generations, frankly comparing the older era of players to the new.

“Just a couple nights ago I pulled out a tape of me playing some thirty years ago,” Hunsaker said. “I just couldn’t get over it. You look at today’s generation of players. They’re so much more athletic,  fundamentally sound. They’re just better.”

That didn’t stop Hunsaker from stressing hard work during the camp.

His message: If you don’t work your talent, you’re wasting it. Camp participants took it to heart.

“I hope I can leave this camp a better player,” Christofferson said. “I want to take what I learn here and bring it to my school team next year.”

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