Keith High School’s John Pettway, left, drives to the basket against Southside during a game last season. Pettway, an eighth grader, was a significant contributor for the Keith varsity team last season, and attended the John Lucas Camp in Houston to develop his skills. -- File Photo

Keith eighth grader Pettway working toward future after Houston camp

Published 12:40am Saturday, June 2, 2012

A local high school basketball player recently took his game on the road to a camp held by an NBA legend.

Keith High School point guard John Pettway attended the John Lucas International Middle School Combine in Houston on May 12-13.

Pettway said he learned a lot of skills that will help him become a better player and help him help his team win.

“We learned basic fundamentals — how to make free throws, how to play on-ball defense, how to play off the ball, how to split the defense, doing pick and rolls and stuff like that,” Pettway said. “It helps me make my team better by going there and learning more stuff, and bringing it back to them and showing them what I learned. Basically it just helps me help my team win next year.”

Titled ‘Camp Right Way,’ the camp aimed to develop the fundamental basketball skills of seventh and eighth grade players who have the raw talent and skill to become elite.

Among the speakers that Pettway heard at the camp were former Houston Rocket John Lucas II, his son and current Chicago Bulls guard John Lucas III, Don Showalter of USA Basketball, Purvis Short of NBAPA Top 100, Duke Pryor and Greg Thomas of iHoops, and Reggie Rankin of ESPN.

Although Pettway was an eighth grader this past season, he played a key role for the Keith Bears’ varsity team during another winning season.

“He’s learning a lot and he’s coming along,” said Keith head boys basketball coach Tommy Tisdale. “His learning curve was fast. We put him in the fire early and we expected a lot out of him, and he matured as an eighth grader. We kind of watched him grow into a pretty good player.”

Tisdale added Pettway did a great job of adapting to the varsity game this past season.

“He’s focused on getting better. I mean, he didn’t let any of that go to his head, he comes to work every day,” Tisdale said. “That’s probably the biggest plus I have seen — the way the team accepted him as a youngster. Once he put on a varsity uniform, nobody showed pity because he was an eighth grader. He was a varsity basketball player and we expected varsity performance, and he rose to that challenge. I take my hat off to him for that because not many eighth graders can do that.”

While Tisdale said Pettway will need to continue to bulk up physically for the coming years, he added that Pettway has all the tools to continue to be successful.

“The biggest aspect and what I focus on more than anything is academics. Right now, he’s an A-B student, and that in itself speaks volumes,” Tisdale said. “If he can continue to do that, I think his work ethic, attitude, his parents and his background will push him the rest of the way. His talent is there.”

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