The Times photo by Justin Chapman // Campers at Wednesday’s Pacers Hoop Tour at Grand Park’s Pacers Athletic Center take a break from running up and down the court to run in circles around their camp counselor. Former Indiana Pacer Fred Jones and former WNBA player Tully Bevilaqua were on-hand to share their knowledge of the game and life with the kids.
The Times photo by Justin Chapman // Campers at Wednesday’s Pacers Hoop Tour at Grand Park’s Pacers Athletic Center take a break from running up and down the court to run in circles around their camp counselor. Former Indiana Pacer Fred Jones and former WNBA player Tully Bevilaqua were on-hand to share their knowledge of the game and life with the kids.
Absolute chaos.

Those are two words to describe the atmosphere from an outsider's perspective of the Junior Pacers Hoop Tour Wednesday at the Pacers Athletic Center in Westfield. 

Step a little closer, however, and you can see this is organized chaos. You can also see familiar faces, such as former Indiana Pacer Fred Jones, still doing what drives them – sharing their love for the game with younger generations. 

“The motivation for me (teaching kids basketball) is this is what I am supposed to do,” Jones said. “I’ve been blessed to play the game of basketball at a high level and get to a point where people tend to want to listen to what I got to say. With that, my obligation is to pass it forward.”

The Junior Pacers Hoop Tour is a summer youth basketball camp tour that hits five cities throughout Indiana each year. One of this year’s locations happened to be at the Pacers Athletic Center located at Grand Park.

“We found it by surprise,” said Randy Lanhan, a local grandfather. “My grandson is from Mitchell, (Indiana), down south. It’s neat how they put (the campers) through the different processes, different challenges, interaction with the different kids they’re not (playing) with all the time.”

Campers, who range in age from 6 to 14 years old, were organized into different groups, with 12 ballers in each squad. Coaches positioned themselves at each station – layup lines, ball handling, conditioning – and taught the kids shooting techniques, ball-handling skills and precision passing better, among other skills.

In addition to Jones, current and former Pacers or Indiana Fever players attend as volunteers every year. This summer’s camp included former WNBA player and current Fever player development coach Tully Bevilaqua.

“I remember as a kid going to a whole bunch of camps and clinics, and you always have to have volunteers to make them run,” Bevilaqua said. “So, now as a retired basketballer, (and) as a parent, I feel it’s important that you give back to the community.”

Bevilaqua loves seeing the smiles on the campers’ faces, and the energy and enthusiasm they bring to each drill, she said. She wants them to walk away remembering the things they learn during the day, whether its basketball or life related. It’s always about becoming a better person. 

If that’s accomplished, Bevilaqua said, it’s a win.

Jones also runs a basketball gym in Indianapolis named Shoot 360. The gym works with children and helps them become better basketball players while also creating a positive and lasting impact on their lives.

Jones said the camp’s mission is to invest in the future generation and push kids to develop as athletes and people. There’s no way better to do that than to bring professionals in and other people who want to work with kids and improve them in multiple areas.

Yes, the gym is loud. However, beyond the craziness, this is where the future is developing.

The Junior Pacers Hoops Tour will end this week after stops in Brownsburg and Knightstown Thursday and Friday, respectively.