MARICOPA, Ariz. (KSAZ) - Every year, hundreds of kids travel to the Valley for the NABI Basketball Tournament. It's a free training camp with some friendly competition that could take these young athletes a long way.
Free throws, three pointers and rebounds. For the love of basketball, these kids dedicate their summer to the game. Hundreds of high school teens from all over the U.S., Canada and New Zealand come to Maricopa County to compete in the tournament. The 62 boys and girls teams will be split into two divisions, and there's a tournament created for the Native American youth.
"Being able to have that good sportsmanship on and off the court, so it's just a lot of interaction especially with different tribes," said Jeanne Tsipai.
Starting the week off with a three-day camp, the young athletes work with coaches to sharpen their skills on the court. Off the court, they're learning life lessons with seminars and motivational classes from former professional athletes.
"Just watching the players, a lot of them have great attitudes. Some just happy to be here and showcase their talents," said Richard Mabry. "You watch the players come in from their first year, and then watch them and how they develop a lot better on the court."
Team brackets begin on Thursday, the three-day tournament series begins. On Saturday, four teams will be crowned NABI division title champions.
There were also scouts and recruiters present at the NABI camp this week to watch some of those young athletes in action. After this weekend's tournament, some could receive scholarship offers to play at the college level.