Turns out Austin Daye has a little more time on his hands these days than he expected.
The former Woodbridge High basketball star is now an NBA player locked out by the league along with all the league’s players because of a labor dispute. But Daye, who has played two seasons for the Detroit Pistons, was scheduled to conduct his second annual basketball camp this August in Irvine, NBA lockout or not.
Daye averaged 31 points and 12 rebounds his senior season at Woodbridge and went on to play collegiately atGonzaga, where he averaged 11.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in two seasons with the Bulldogs.
He entered the NBA draft in 2009 and was taken by the Pistons in the first round, the 15th player taken overall. Daye said his camp is a way for him to give back to the community and give kids an opportunity that some kids might not otherwise get.
“It’s just something I always wanted to do,” said Daye, who is working out in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas. “I was never fortunate enough to go to camp and I always wanted to help out whatever way I can.”
Daye said he expects to have other NBA players helping with instruction, including Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies, and Malcolm Lee, who was drafted out of UCLA by the Chicago Bulls in the second round of the NBA draft last month and then traded to theMinnesotaTimberwolves.
Still just 23, Daye brings some credibility to camp himself. He’s 6-foot-11 and is the son of former NBA player, Darren Daye, who played at UCLA and in the NBA with the Bullets, Bulls and Celtics before playing professionally in Europe.
The younger Daye averaged 13 minutes of playing time per game his rookie season in 2009-10 and averaged 5.1 points and 2.5 rebounds. In his second season his playing time increased to 20 minutes per game and his averages went up to 7.5 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Daye is looking forward to his third NBA season, a season he said is critical to an NBA player’s career. He’ll prepare for the season whether there is a season or not by training at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas and playing in the Drew League in Compton.
“Everyone wants the season to go on,” Daye said. “The owners want to make some changes and we just have to figure it all out.”
New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams has signed to play in Turkey, and other NBA players might continue the trend of playing overseas if the NBA lockout isn’t resolved.
Daye, though, said that isn’t his plan, at least not yet.
“Not right away,” Daye said. “But I’ll consider it if I feel I need to. It’s important for me to get the games and experience of a third year. It’s the most important year in the NBA. If the season isn’t going to start on time I might look into playing games overseas.”
Daye has other reasons to look forward to playing in the NBA next season. The Pistons let go of Coach John Kuester and are looking for a new coach.
“A new coach and a new system might be beneficial for me,” Daye said, who also said he is trying to bulk up and increase his weight, listed at 205 pounds last season.
“I’m definitely gaining weight,” Daye said. “It’s been a priority of mine.”
If You Go
Austin Daye’s basketball camp runs Aug. 1-4 at Irvine High School, and campers have three options to choose from:
All day camp – 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. each day for $295.
Morning session – 9 a.m.-noon for $195.
Afternoon session – 1-4 p.m. for $195.
All campers get a Nike t-shirt and carry bag, an autographed photo of Daye, gift certificates, photos and autographs of a special NBA guest and instruction from NBA and college players. The camp is open to boys and girls ages 5-14.
To register go to austindayebasketballcamp.com.