Rompza to host basketball camp
Published: Sunday, July 15, 2012
Updated: Sunday, July 15, 2012 15:07
Starting Friday, former UCF point guard A.J. Rompza will be lending a hand in a few different ways.
At his basketball camp, the A.J. Rompza Skills Academy, the former Knight will help young players ages 8 to 17 develop their skills on the court. He’ll also stress to those same youth the importance of success in the classroom and off the court.
Perhaps most importantly, though, will be the helping hand Rompza lends to the Downing family of Oviedo. Caitlin Downing, 5, is fighting an aggressive brain tumor called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Originally, he was approached by a mutual friend about helping with a golf fundraiser to help the Downings with the medical expenses that continue to pile up. But, as Rompza puts it, he knew he just had to try and help even further.
“I kind of just wanted to do more because I feel like getting the stuff signed by the people [for the golf fundraiser] — that was easy,” Rompza said.
Rompza will help a bit more by donating a portion of the proceeds from his camp, which will take place at Corner Lakes Middle School in East Orlando, to the Downing family. The gesture has taken the idea of hosting a basketball camp, something he has always wanted to do but couldn’t while under NCAA regulations, and given it a deeper meaning for the Chicago native.
“It’s good to have a camp, but also [to have it] for a great cause, and that was always pretty much my main focus,” Rompza said. “I think [donating the proceeds to help Caitlin] will motivate me more and push me more every day when I don’t feel like doing something with camp.”
Rompza’s three-day camp will feature daily guest speakers and appearances from Orlando Magic players. All of the campers will be given T-shirts. The first 100 to register, which can be done at rompza.com, will also receive water bottles, lanyards, bags and bracelets.
A raffle will also be held at the camp and items such as a jersey autographed by Derrick Rose, among other prizes.
Rompza hopes to have some fun and interact with all the campers, and he plans on being present for the entirety of the camp. The importance of taking school seriously and not solely focusing on basketball will be something he says he will stress (the logo for the camp features a book) and something that will help make the camp successful.
After all, Rompza isn’t just doing this for himself or even the campers who will attend.
“Of course I want my camp to be good,” Rompza said. “But the reason I want my camp to be great is because of her [Caitlin].”