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Home-court is where the heart is: Old pro returns home to hold b-ball camp

Published 10:22am Tuesday, January 8, 2013

By Ed Bailey

Raymond Buchanan has played in basketball arenas all over the world, but every skill he exhibited was learned in Alexander City. He now hopes to teach those same skills to youths who hope to follow in his footsteps.
To do this, Buchanan held the first of what he hopes are numerous basketball camps that are designed to build a foundation for Alex City’s future players and impart life lessons for participants.
More than 20 boys and girls showed up for the camp, which left Buchanan pleased with the participation.
“I’m really impressed with the turnout,” he said. “ We had more kids here than I expected. I wish we had 100 more.”
Buchanan said that the camps are open to youths of all ages, gender and nationality, particularly Spanish-speaking nations as Buchanan speaks the language.
The former BRHS standout said that it was long overdue for him to return home.
Buchanan added that one reason he’s trying to hold camps are to better prepare Alex City’s athletes of tomorrow by adding a bit more substance to what he said he feels is a now style-dominated game of basketball.
“I haven’t been home for a long time and that’s one thing I regret,” he said. “I’m amazed at how the kids aren’t being taught as they used to be. You see the Lebrons and the Carmelos of the world and no one talks about how they built off of their fundamental skills to do all of the flash and such. That’s what I’m trying to bring back.”
While there has only been one camp so far,  Buchanan said that the turnout and reception by the community was promising.
He added that he saw more than a few campers that have potential to grow into good players.
“I’m eager to teach, I’m proud to be here and I felt like we have a good group of kids out here,” Buchanan said. “If the community gives me a chance, I’ll teach the kids with all my heart.”
Ultimately, he sees the camps as opportunities to not only help increase a participant’s skill level, but also as a positive investment in their lives.
According to Buchanan, these camps, if he is able to continue holding them, will help the kids occupy their time with more beneficial activities as well as keep them away from not-so-beneficial allures in the real world.
“We have to invest in our kids’ future— this is something that will keep them off the street and give them something to do so they’ll focus more,” Buchanan said. “If we start to lose them a little bit, we’ve got to bring them back.”
Buchanan said he was glad that he returned home and that seeing the young crowd gravitating to the lessons he tried to teach made it worth it, but so long as the children benefitted the camps would be a success.
“The most important thing is that we’re helping to make the kids better,” he said.