Just call him professor Harrington
When he’s not broadcasting games for the Big Ten Network and ESPN, former Illini sharpshooter Sean Harrington is in the gym teaching the game to the next generation. Now living in DeKalb, Harrington recently launched a new venture called the Players Camp, four one-day clinics featuring current players from Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas and Iowa State providing instruction. Player from Illinois (July 12) and Wisconsin (July 13) will work a camp at Walker Athletics in west-suburban Lisle, while the Players Camp will move to Kansas (July 19) and Iowa (July 26) for the other two dates. For more information and to register, visit his website.
Q: How long has the Players Camp been in the works?
A: Really the last two years it’s kind of been a work in progress and it really seriously started coming together a year ago. I put some things together and started to talk to the schools before the season started. I thought of the idea a year and a half ago and put it into action in the last six to 12 months.
Q: There are the obvious connections with you between Illinois and Kansas. Is Wisconsin involved because Frank Kaminsky is local to the Chicago area?
A: I have a good relationship with Bo Ryan and his assistant Greg Gard, I’m pretty close with them and have a previous relationship. I thought it would be exciting to bring Frank Kaminsky back to his hometown. It’s not too often you get to do that and to bring some teammates with you. Obviously the success that they had last year will be a wonderful thing to celebrate not only Frank but the other Wisconsin players as well.
Q: Is there a connection with you and Iowa State?
A: Doc Sadler, who’s now the head coach at Southern Miss, was at Iowa State and I’ve known him for a long time, had a good relationship and we kind of got that started there and had it in place. When he took the job at Southern Miss, it was all set up and their assistants have bene great. I’ve been working hand in hand with one of their guys to keep it going. They’re really excited about it.
Q: Were all the schools involved open to you having their players participate in this?
A: Yeah, they have. It’s been fun working with them and I think the players are excited to do it. It’s good exposure for the teams, it’s good exposure for the universities and it’s good for these players. They get paid for doing what they do best and that’s playing basketball. The biggest thing for me is if you’re going to get trained, you might as well get trained by someone who does it really well and obviously these players have played basketball pretty well the last 15-20 years of their lives.
Q: What can the campers expect out of this experience they’re going to be getting?
A: It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance for these campers to interact with Division I players they see on TV and really have full access to them. We’re going to put the college players through a little workout and the kids will watch that to see how good they are and how hard they work and then the rest of the camp will be taking those drills and the players teaching it to them, breaking it down and allowing these kids to work on their games. There will be an opportunity to play against the guys 5-on-5, 1-on-1, shooting drills and competitions with the players and against them. It’s just a fun day to interact with the guys they see on TV and be able to say ‘We saw Ray Rice hit a shot in the game the other day and it was very similar to a drill he taught me’ and it’s just to make that connection to why these guys are so successful on the court because of all the work they put in.
Q: Why was it so important for you to have current college players?
A: It’s what separates us from other camps that are out there. When the kids go on campus, they get to see them and interact a little bit, but a lot of times they’re in class if those camps are during the week. We just wanted to give these kids an opportunity to be taught and coached by the best players out there and we wanted to give them an experience they couldn’t get in any other camp. It’s cool to have those players in your town.
Q: Are you still doing television broadcasts?
A: Yep, that’s the plan. I’ve been in talks with networks. My goal is to do the individual coaching and camps in the spring, summer and fall and to keep broadcasting in the winters.