C of I hoopsters teach kids the fun of the game

A stampede of sound vibrated through the J.A. Albertson gym as 80 pairs of sneakers ran to and fro, chasing purple and white striped basketballs up and down the hardwood. Kids whooped and hollered for their teammates with every ball that cascaded through the hoop.

On the sidelines, alumni, current and newly recruited College of Idaho basketball players found themselves in the role of coach, working with the youngsters to improve their skills during the C of I basketball camp.

“This really reminds me about what high-character young men we have in our program,” Yotes coach Scott Garson said. “They do such a fantastic job of being role models and mentors to these young kids.”

For incoming freshman guard Talon Pinckney, it was his first glimpse at the C of I basketball team and a chance to bond with teammates and basketball alums before he jumps into the program this fall.

“For my first experience in the program, it’s cool to give back to the community and help kids out,” Pinckney said. “It’s super cool to see them admire us and really listen to what we have to say.”

Teammate Gibson Berryhill, a sophomore guard, echoed those sentiments.

“I think one of my favorite parts is just being able to see their faces and the way they look at all of us…to see how they look up and eat every word—it’s really cool to feel like you have an impact,” he said. “Especially when it’s centered around the game you love.”

The week was full of fun moments, as the players taught each kid the C of I way of doing things: give your best effort, be unselfish, and above all else…

“Just have fun,” said recent grad Mark Coffin ’16.  “It always comes down to having fun at stuff like this.”

For Coffin, who had a younger group of kids, the week was anything but boring.

“It’s a great atmosphere,” he said. “Even though they don’t really know what they’re doing at times, it’s just great fun.”

On the first day of camp, Coffin had one kid who only stood at half-court during a scrimmage. As players ran around him, the child would look at his foot, which he swung back and forth. As Coffin and the other coaches encouraged the child to get involved in the game, he just kept swinging his leg.

But throughout the week, the kid broke out of his shell and was soon running around the court, making defensive stops, passing the ball and shooting baskets.

“It’s really great to see that progress,” Coffin said. “I don’t know if he just wasn’t comfortable, but it was really awesome to see.”

At that’s what the camp is all about for the Yotes—being able to share the game they love with a group of kids who could possibly find themselves wearing a C of I uniform one day.

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit