Marial Shayok, the 76ers’ second-round pick from Iowa State, said spending time on Wednesday with several serious hoops fans in Camden brought him back to his childhood.
The 6-foot-5 Shayok, who is signed to a two-way contract (he can spend up to 45 days in the NBA while also competing for the G-League Delaware Blue Coats), took time out of his schedule to attend a court dedication in Camden, not far from the Sixers’ practice facility. He was joined by fellow rookie, 7-foot-4 Chris Koumadje, who was singed to an Exhibit 10 contract.
The Sixers Youth Foundation, the trust for Public Land, the city of Camden and the Camden City School District hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Cooper’s Poynt School on Wednesday for a revitalized outdoor basketball court. Two brand new halfcourt baskets are at the school.
“Seeing these kids playing and practice the way I grew up is a great feeling,” said Shayok, who averaged 18.7 points for Iowa State last season, earning first-team all-Big 12 honors after playing his first three seasons Virginia.
The courts benefit more than just the 420 students from the school for pre-kindergarten to eighth grade students.
“This is not only for the school but also for the community,” said Amy Heyer, the Sixers’ executive director of social responsibility.
Cooper’s Poynt School principal Janine Casella says students play basketball before school, during recess and after school. “The students are so excited to have something like this and we are so grateful,” she said.
The two Sixers rookies gave a clinic to the youngsters. Shayok averaged 14.5 points in 20.8 minutes per game for the Sixers summer league team, while Koumadje averaged 6.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 13.6 minutes.
Shayok arrived in the area on Aug. 19 and said he has been working out virtually every day since at the team’s practice facility. He says the early arrival will help him prepare for his first training camp, which begins Oct. 1.