Saturday, November 27, 1999
WNBA star CooperBy Al Chase
puts on lively clinic
More than 100 of Hawaii's young basketball players spent an hour yesterday in a high-energy clinic run by Cynthia Cooper, arguably the best women's basketball player in the world.
Cooper, a three-time Women's National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player, had everyone hopping in Klum Gym.
"I do several of these every year," Cooper said. "I love working with the kids because they're our future and you have to be very positive with them. I love basketball and I love interacting with them."
Arriving 10 minutes before the 2 p.m. clinic, she quickly explained to several local volunteer coaches the six stations in the clinic and had each one take an assignment.
Her works of advice were, "Show them the fundamentals, then let them participate."
The free clinic, sponsored by Niketown Honolulu, would cover ballhandling, dribbling, shooting, free throws, layups, passing and defense.
After being introduced as an amazing basketball player, Cooper bounded out to midcourt and quickly gained the attention of the 111 youngsters who registered and their accompanying parents.
She pointed out where each station would be, assigned groups to each station by age and encouraged the kids to hustle.
Cooper was animated, full of energy and quick to flash a smile. She took the group at center court for defensive instruction.
She showed her group a defensive stance. Then, at her command, the young players jumped in and out of their defensive stance. Soon they were quick stepping with both feet, shuffling left, shuffling right, forward, backward, all copying Cooper's moves.
When she finished a segment by falling down backward, two youngsters in her group didn't follow.
Time for a little humor. The youngsters had to do 10 pushups, but they could be any kind. The next time everyone fell down.
It didn't take long for the players to catch on and display the same kind of fast-paced action Cooper was demonstrating. Then she switched positions with a youngster and had her run the drill.
After the clinic, some of the participants were heard describing the hour-long experience as great, awesome and incredible.