Local youth got a chance to learn basketball fundamentals in the #RyseUpNow Youth Basketball Clinic, the Ryse Williams Charitable Foundation created the event to further the legacy of a stand out athlete in which the foundation is named after.
Ryse was an integral member of the Redondo Union boys’ basketball team and was set to attend Loyola Marymount University. After his senior season was over, he was diagnosed with Renal Medullary Carcinoma (R.M.C.) and passed away one day before his graduation in 2017.
His father, O’Bray Williams, brings awareness to R.M.C. through the foundation. The #RyseUpNow Youth Basketball Clinic is geared towards children in the fourth through sixth grades.
“I wanted to do something for a younger group to expose them to a college campus and to come together and participate in a free camp,” O’Bray said. “It’s about teaching, coming together, and giving back to honor my son.”
Several members of the LMU men’s basketball team led the youth in drills in the morning and basketball games in the afternoon. Participants worked on defense, ball handling, one-on-ones and shooting. Cameron Augulemang, 9, learned to aim for the back of the rim when shooting.
“We get a little head start so we know a little more things about college and how to shoot,” Augulemang said.
Upcoming sixth grader Kaylah Mothudi learned how to escape defensive traps to score.
“My favorite drill was probably defense,” Mothudi said. “I feel like when I go to college, I’m gonna get the same experience and then I’ll already be ready.”
Participants and their parents were impressed with LMU hosting the event.
“As soon as the kids walked in, their eyes get big,” said Victoria Sanders who brought her grandson to the camp. “It’s something nice for them to do.”
Reign Ewaegh, 11, improved on her footwork and how to kick out the ball to players. Her favorite drill was the one-on-ones.
“It was fun because everyone was playing and the energy was good,” Ewaegh said.
Kaion Franklin also enjoyed the tutelage of the LMU basketball team.
“The skills that I learned are to always keep the ball low when you’re spinning, dribbling, crossing over or doing any move.” Franklin said.
The youth noticed how the clinic helped them progress while having a good time with their peers.
“I’m feeling I improved on my ball handling,” said Hayley Lopez, 10.
After hearing about his passing, the LMU basketball program reserved Ryse’s locker for the duration of what would have been his time playing for the university. They plan to give Ryse his degree posthumously and retire his jersey number.
“I never had the chance to meet Ryse personally,” said LMU sophomore forward Ivan Alipiev. “What I heard from all my former teammates and friends is that he was a great person and I’m really happy that this event is happening right now.”
The Clinic welcomed over 100 children who were able to get to benefit from the Ryse’s legacy
“I think it’s awesome,” said Francesco Pace, who brought his son and nephew. “It speaks to the foundation and it speaks to the love of basketball through Ryse.”
The Pac Shores Tournament was renamed to the Ryse Williams Pac Shores tournament and Culver City high school hosts the Ryse Williams Fall Classic annually.