Lesson No. 1: Love This Game!
By John Gardella

Brittany Wright knows the day is long off, but the 9-year-old is confident that if she works hard one day she'll be playing for her hometown Orlando Miracle. But she knows achieving her goals will take hard work, which is why she was thrilled to be part of the Jr. WNBA Clinic at the WNBA Summer Jam.

"I had fun," said Wright. "What I liked the most was that we got to shoot free throws and then layups."

Orlando Miracle players Tiffany McCain and Jessie Hicks, Detroit Shock coach Greg Williams and Miami Sol assistant coach Jenny Boucek on Monday helped lead Wright and about 20 other aspiring b-ballers from Orlando local basketball leagues through skill drills, including dribbling, passing, layups and free throws. The clinic was the second held during Summer Jam.

The clinic was part of the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA League Support Programs, which will use the resources of both leagues to serve youth basketball leagues through programs and initiatives for players, parents, coaches and administrators. The programs will feature valuable tools, including a coaching manual, a parent guidebook and a player handbook, and a comprehensive curriculum that will be the foundation of the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA initiative.

"I think this clinic will help," said McCain. "When I was growing up I went to some camps but it's really important to have your fundamentals, because that's where you start. You have your basics and you just grow from there."

Paramount in the instruction, however, was the message that the most important ingredient in playing basketball is having fun.

"The key is just having fun," Boucek said. "If you don't love the game you shouldn't be playing. I don't care where you think it's going to get you. You got love it and you've got to work hard."

And clearly, the participants did.