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National clinic to be at Mountaineer

April 11, 2008
CHESTER — Fresh off his NIT title win, Ohio State Buckeyes’ coach Thad Matta will headline the Nike Championship Basketball Clinic which will run April 11-13 at The Harv Arena at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort.

An estimated 350-400 people are expected to be in attendance to take in demonstrations from the likes of Villanova’s Jay Wright, North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell and Oak Hill Academy’s Steve Smith as well as a number of other collegiate coaches and professional trainers.

Three changes have been made to the line up, as Northern State’s Don Meyer — who’s currently second on the all-time wins list with 891 victories — Arizona State’s Herb Sendek and Kent State’s Geno Ford were added to the slate of demonstrators.

According to clinic director Ed Janka, after the success of last year’s event clinic organizers decided to bring the event back to The Harv.

Originally from Chicago, Janka sets up and runs the clinic from his home in Solon, Ohio.

Although he over sees the events, Janka is no suit behind a desk, though.

He has experience as a player and coach, having spent time at Marquette playing under and coaching along side Al McGuire.

After 17 years on the sidelines — which included a stint coaching professionally in Europe —he signed on with Nike, where he stayed for 15 years; he’s run the Nike clinics since 1981.

And when Matta, Wright and the rest of the events participants take center stage, Janka will be right at home as coaches will conducted live demonstrations on the court with players.

But it won’t just be high profile college and prep coaches at the event.

East Liverpool basketball coach J.R. Walker is a regular at the event, having attended the clinic five times.

“I totally enjoy listening to everybody,” he said. “You pick up so much from everybody. Then the ones you don’t expect to pick much up from that’s the ones you get good stuff from.”

And he takes what he learns all the way to the court. Walker has implemented a few of the offensive sets he’s seen demonstrated at the Chester clinic, as well as a number of defensive schemes.

Even though this will be his sixth time at the event, the eighth year Potter coach still gets a bit star struck around his collegiate counterparts.

Most notably among the coaches he’s encountered are Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Maryland’s Gary Williams.

The experiences of learning from those coaches has been invaluable for the East Liverpool head man.

“It’s just something that you can’t replace. It’s unbelievable to be sitting there with the same ones you watch on TV and pick their brains,” Walker said. “They’re so friendly. If you have questions you can talk to them afterwards and they’ll go through things for you and everything.”

With demonstrations such as “Off Season Conditioning-The Foundation of a Great Program,” “Winning the Carolina Way,” and “One on One Competition to Enhance Your Practice” Walker and other area coaches in attendance are sure to pick up a few a things that will give their squads an edge.

In addition to the clinic in Chester, Nike will also hold five other events this spring in such locales as : Las Vegas, Nev., Des Moines, Iowa and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Fact Box

Scheduled Speakers
¯ Thad Matta, Ohio State
¯ Jay Wright, Villanova
¯ Sylvia Hathcell, North Carolina
¯ Seth Greenberg, Virginia Tech
¯ Dino Gaudio, Wake Forest
¯ Geno Ford, Kent State
¯ Don Meyers, Northern State
¯ Phil Martelli, St. Joseph’s
¯ Jim Baron, Rhode Island
¯ Herb Sendek, Arizona State
¯ Alan Stein, Elite Athlete Training Systems



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