There are some things 13-year-old girls don’t particularly like doing
with their 9-year-old brothers.
Make that a lot of things.
But siblings Lizzy and Philip Brooks have found an activity they
can do together, and actually enjoy -- playing basketball.
The players were among 66 athletes Monday at Luther Burbank Middle
School who took part in the first day of a week-long MVP Summer
Basketball Camp at Luther Burbank Middle School.
Sponsored by the Burbank Park, Recreation and Community Services
Department, the camp is run by longtime Coach Mike Graceffo, who has
more than 25 years of coaching experience.
Graceffo said this installment of the camp has been the most
“We have been running these camps for a couple of years now, and
this is the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” Graceffo said.
“We usually have two camps during the year, one in the winter and
one in the summer. We have been able to develop a pretty good
following, so that’s probably why this one has a lot of kids.”
Lizzy Brooks said attending Graceffo’s camp is a must.
“I’ve been at a few other camps before, but we always sign up for
this one,” she said.
“You learn a lot in this camp and they make it really fun.”
Along with the fun, Philip Brooks said the coaches do a good job
at keeping the young athletes in line.
“The coaches aren’t soft,” he said. “They are there to get after
you and make sure you do things the right way. They make sure we
behave and act right. But they’re also really nice.”
In the camp -- which runs through Friday -- athletes in the fourth
through eighth grades are engulfed with an overload of basketball.
However, the primary objective of the event is to teach athletes the
sport and help them refine their basketball skills.
Although heavy on fundamentals and skills drills, Graceffo said he
also tries to keep the players interested with other
“We have speakers and have a lot of shooting and other contests,”
Graceffo said. “There is also a pizza and pool party for the final
day on Friday. So there is a lot for the kids to do.”
On Tuesday, the players were treated to a visit by Hart High boys’
basketball Coach Tom Kelly. Bellamrmie-Jefferson boys’ Coach Eli Essa
is also scheduled to talk to the students.
The camp also features a group of coaches with local ties. One of
the coaches is former Burroughs and L.A. Marlborough girls’ star
Shaina Zaidi, who is headed to UCLA.
“I like the fundamentals they teach us here,” Lizzy Brooks said.
“The coaches really make you feel at home and that’s cool.”