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Mercer coach Bob Hoffman hosts camp to help players heal

MACON - It's the 7th Annual Bob Hoffman Basketball Camp on the campus of Mercer University for players in elementary school all the way through high school.

Hoffman says more than 150 ball players are running the floor during the three day camp, learning the basic fundamentals of the game as well as how to better your attitude as a player. Campers are from all over the country including Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma and Florida.

But one special camper made a return trip after a lengthy hiatus. Xavier Reed, hails from New York and last attended the camp 6 years ago as a 4th grader while living here in Macon. His mother died after battling an illness on the first day of camp in 2007. Coach Hoffman immediately rounded up the players and prayed for Reed and his family.

Reed later moved up north and now 6 years later as a high school junior, the point guard returned to Bear Country after an overnight bus trip from the Big Apple to learn again from the coach he says forever changed his life.

Reed says, "I feel comfortable. I feel as if it is more coaching but teaching you how to be a man in life. He teaches you can't be a good basketball player if you're not a good man in life. It's more about being a good person and once you're a good person, you'll fit good in their system."

Hoffman adds, "You hope to give them some nugget, some tid bit that they may not remember right now but maybe a week later they will be able to remember and put it into practice and could change their lives forever. That's what we should be in the business of doing every week we have camp."

The camp wraps up tomorrow afternoon. Xavier is staying here with his Aunt and Uncle for a summer break. He says his dream is to return in two years to play for Coach Hoffman and the Bears as a college student athlete.

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