Tyrus Thomas hosts first annual basketball skills camp to honor Ryan Francis

Tyrus Thomas hosts first annual basketball skills camp to honor Ryan Francis
Tyrus Thomas (Source: WAFB)
Tyrus Thomas (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge native and NBA free agent Tyrus Thomas hosted his first annual skills camp Monday at McKinley Senior High School.

Thomas, through his recently organized foundation, Just Show Up, hosted a skills camp in honor of former Glen Oaks star Ryan Francis.

Francis was a native of Baton Rouge and a rising star at the University of California when he was shot and killed while home visiting his mother for Mother's Day in 2006.

According to Thomas, he still holds on to the memories of Francis.

"Ryan was a close friend and a great leader for my generation," said Thomas. "He was a hard worker, never got into trouble and would, without a doubt, be one of the top players in the NBA if he were still with us today."

Just Show Up will also support a documentary on Francis' life that is set to be released in 2016, ten years after his death. A friend of Francis, TaRhonda White will write and produce the project.

Thomas hopes the kids who attend his camp walk away with more than just basketball knowledge.

"This is about more than basketball. I love the game, but more importantly I care about the lives and future of our youth," said Thomas. "Through the camp, and later TaRhonda's documentary, we will honor Ryan's legacy and use his death to show young people how easy it is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and how important it is to be mindful of the company they keep."

The one-day camp provided one on one instruction from area coaches and professional basketball athletes, including Garrett Temple if the Washington Wizards. Players also heard from guest speakers and participate in an interview skills workshop.

Parkview coach Brandon White thinks the camp is off to a great start.

"I think it's a great turnout for the first year," said White. "The guys have really come in here with the will to learn, you know, and just compete and get after it."

Thomas himself was unable to attend the camp due to a meeting with the NBA.

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