FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Monroe Catholic Athletic Director Frank Ostanik has been hosting basketball clinics across Alaska for many years.
That is no different this week, as Coach O hosted a camp for elementary grade kids.
Helping coach the clinic was former West Anchorage basketball player Devon Bookert. After high school, Bookert went on to the Division I Florida State Basketball program, where he became a member of the 1,000 point club for the school. Since then, he played professional basketball overseas, and was a part of the San Antonio Spurs Developmental team last year in the G-League.
It is not easy to make it out of Alaska in any sport, and Bookert had some advice for young hoopers who look to follow in his footsteps.
"I will say it's hard to get exposure in Alaska, but I think you have to keep on working and eventually opportunity will show itself. If you just stay ready, when it comes around you'll be ready to take full advantage," Bookert said. "I think it gives you a certain type of pride coming from Alaska that toughness cause most kids from Alaska are overlooked for the most part cause where we're at then the exposure aspect, it comes with a little bit of toughness."
Also coaching at the camp was former West Valley standout Ellen Silva. Silva is preparing for her first year as part of the UAA women's basketball program. She reflected on the days when she attended the very same camps shes helping put on now.
"It is amazing because I remember coming to these camps when I was in 7th and 8th grade and it just really cool to have it come full circle now," Silva said at the camp. "That really means the world to me because I remember meeting players from UAF and UAA when I was younger and just being in awe watching them, so hopefully I can kind of be the same for them."
Bookert is still deciding on whether to return overseas or to the G-League, while Silva will have her homecoming to Fairbanks when she plays UAF this year.