Campers live out dream through Tom Crean Basketball Fantasy Experience
Oct. 23, 2013On the last weekend in September, a group of men from throughout the U.S. lived out their basketball dreams at the Tom Crean Basketball Fantasy Experience camp in Bloomington.
The campers each paid $5,000 for three-day experience, hosted by ProCamps and targeted to men over 35.
Participants got firsthand experience of the schedule and dedication of an IU college basketball player.
“You’re at a 24/7 building, I want you to feel like you have 24/7 access to this, because our players have this access,” Crean said.
Over the course of three days, the 54 campers worked out in the practice facilities, were drafted onto teams and played in competitive games leading up to the championship title on the final day. They even had dinner at Crean’s home.
First-time Crean Basketball Fantasy Experience camper Pete Palmer grew up in Indiana and is a lifelong IU basketball fan. “Coach Crean is a great motivator and fantastic person to listen to and get ideas from,” Palmer said.
ProCamps started in 1998, adding the adult Fantasy Camps in April 2012. Originally, the camps were geared toward helping athletes and coaches with their youth sports camps.
“For me, I thought it was going to be more of casual basketball and some social events, and I had a rude awakening … it’s very competitive,” said Gregg Darbyshire, co-founder and chief executive of ProCamps.
Some of IU’s own attended the camp, including such well-known alumni as football legend Anthony Thompson, Subway spokesman Jared Fogle and entrepreneur Mark Cuban.
Tracy Smith, IU’s head baseball coach, reflected jokingly on the competition between players. “I would say that right now, the eve of the college World Series compares nothing to how I feel, right now,” Smith said.
Several participants regularly attend adult camps through different college basketball programs. Camper Ric Alias said he and 14 of his friends have trainers and attend each camp together. “It’s kind of silly, but it’s a great way to work out and meet new friends,” he said.
Alias said that Crean’s camp stood out from the others in that he was the only head coach to work with campers directly during games.
Crean wants campers to remember the workouts, dinners and hard work -- and to look back on the experience with pride. “Something where you look back and say ‘I got better, I had a lot of fun, I met some great people, I respect the kids in that program, and I respect what Indiana is doing,’” Crean said.