Photos: Greg Mason, uOttawa Sports Services
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The University of Ottawa’s Montpetit Hall welcomed Toronto Raptors’ shooting guard Danny Green to centre court over the past two days. 

After an off-season trade that saw him part ways with San Antonio Spurs last year, where he spent eight seasons, Green found himself playing basketball north of the border in 2018. 

Green was not only a notable addition to the Toronto Raptors roster but also played a major role in helping Canada’s team achieve franchise milestones, including their first conference title, and, of course, their historic first NBA championship. 

And while this was Toronto’s first championship title, the win that brought the nation to life on June 13 marked the second time Green would get to hold the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. 

“Toronto was wild,” Green said. “It was amazing, a lot of love, a lot of energy, a lot of positivity, a lot of cheering, a lot of partying in the last week or so.” 

Less than two weeks after defeating the Golden State Warriors for the championship title, Green has returned to the court to host skills clinics for youth in six cities across Canada. 

Ottawa was the second stop for Green after putting the camp on in Toronto. After leaving Ottawa, the skills clinic will travel to Montreal, Halifax, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. The clinic sold out in a number of locations, including its Ottawa edition.

“It makes sense to do something within the city or the state or the country that you’re playing in,” Green explained. “It gives fans a chance to really interact with you. A lot of these people support us throughout the year but never really get a chance to see or interact with us.”

The camp is open to children from eight to 16 years old. It focuses on improving each athlete’s ball-handling, defence, passing, shooting. 

Green, coaching staff, and members of both the men’s and women’s Gee-Gees basketball teams worked together to run drills and facilitate around 200 players.  

Sarah Besselink, who just finished her fifth-year with the Gee-Gees women’s basketball team, helped out on both days. 

“It’s pretty insane to have that amount of kids in the gym, but overall, it’s about them,” Besselink said. “Having Danny walk around the gym and play with the kids shows that he cares about his camp and the experience that these kids will walk away with.” 

The clinic also included a question and answer period with the NBA champion. 

“He took the time to answer questions that the kids had and really put some thought into his answers,” Besselink added. 

Even though this is the first year Green’s camps have toured Canada, he has been hosting clinics every year since he was drafted to the NBA in 2009. 

Green will continue interacting with youth across Canada over the next two weeks while exploring the cities he visits.

Through these camps, Green has been able to grant his younger fans a special experience while helping them improve their skills, all while contributing to the rapid growth in popularity of basketball throughout Canada. 

“I try to teach the fundamentals of basketball and the fundamentals of life and have some fun with the kids at the same time.” Green said. 

“I get to show some love to those who supported me all year.”