Alcorn coach hosts youth camp|[07/20/08]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 20, 2008

For the second year, new Alcorn State men’s basketball coach Larry Smith has spent his Saturdays in July giving tips to kids in the Loving Care Inc., clinic.

Smith was at the Purks YMCA on Saturday morning and while the turnout was light, he was still glad to be there.

“This is the second year we’ve been doing this and I think once the program gets better known, we’ll have better turnouts,” said Smith, a 26-year veteran of the NBA as a player and coach.

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Carolyn Bailey, a California native who now lives in Vicksburg, runs Loving Care Inc., which benefits disabled children in the Warren County area. She met Smith while he was playing with Golden State.

“I met Larry when he was with the Warriors and I was in California. When I came to Vicksburg I noticed there wasn’t a program like this that helped with the needs of Special Education and disabled children. Larry’s been our main spokesperson,” Bailey said.

On Thursday, Bailey’s group will hold a luncheon at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library to better illustrate the goals of Loving Care, Inc. Smith will conduct another clinic next Saturday at Purks YMCA, beginning at 8 a.m.

After last year’s clinic, Smith went to China to coach an all-star team with the NBA Developmental League. Two months later, he was hired as the boys basketball coach at St. Aloysius. He coached the Flashes for six weeks before leaving to take a job with the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.

In June, he was hired to replace Sam West as the head coach at his alma mater, Alcorn State.

While with the Sparks, Smith got to work with two of the world’s best female players in center Lisa Leslie and rookie phenom Candace Parker. The Sparks are currently leading the WNBA’s Western Division at the midpoint of the season.

“Candace Parker is an incredible player. Her skills are amazing. I wish had someone like her on my new team,” Smith said with a laugh.