Halfmoon, NY (NEWS10) — Kevin Huerter has returned to the Capital Region for the first time since being traded to the Sacramento Kings, giving back to kids in the community in the process.
Huerter grew up going to basketball camps throughout the Capital Region. For the first time since opening up the Impact Athletic Center less than a year ago, Kevin and company hosted the first of what he hopes will be many installments of the Huerter Basketball Camps. “Honestly I was just looking forward to doing one on my own,” said Huerter. “Give back to the community a little bit. It was the first day we did it, so we were telling these kids hopefully these camps are something we do for the next 10 to 20 years plus, so for these guys to be here for the first day, the first year we’re doing it, it’s a big deal for me. I appreciate them and it’s great to give back.”
The camp comes at a time of major change for the Shenendehowa graduate. Just 10 days ago he was on vacation in Spain when he found out he’d been traded from the Atlanta Hawks, to the Sacramento Kings. “My vacation basically ended there,” said Huerter. “Obviously a million things come over you when you hear that news. That was one of our last days; couldn’t get back here fast enough. Our flight went from seven hours to feeling like it was 20 hours.”
While fans instantly think of the on-court impact a trade like this can have, for the player themselves a lot more comes into play. “At first, it was tough to swallow just with how far it is away,” said Huerter. “I’ve never gone that far. I remember I was picking my colleges; I cut off all the west coast schools. That six-hour flight for the family to get to games is going to be an adjustment. Obviously with the time change, I think most people will be watching our games in the morning instead of staying up all night for them.”
The Kings have the longest active playoff drought in the league, with 16 years without a playoff appearance. But with guys like De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis on the roster, under new head coach Mike Brown, Huerter likes what he sees. “It’s a good group so far,” said Huerter. “You have guys who have been there like Fox and they went and got Sabonis last year, Harrison Barnes. Harrison Barnes has a ring. Coach Brown has a ring. So I think the right guys are in place, it’s just getting over the hump. It’s been 16 years, they’ve had good teams there before, it’s just getting over the hump, figuring out what we have to do to get in the playoffs.”
What’s especially valuable to Kevin is the value the franchise sees in him, giving up Justin Holiday, Moe Harkless, and a first round pick in the deal. “They went and sought me out,” said Huerter. “Saw me as a guy who could fit into a role for them, spacing the floor, being another ball handler, getting different guys involved. I think they like how I play, so obviously to feel that, to feel wanted and they sought and went out to get me is obviously a great feeling.”
The first session of Huerter’s camp runs through Friday, with another session opening August 1st.