FORT WAYNE – All these months later, the whole business seems less like a bolt from the blue than it does the supreme Well, duh moment.
A WNBA basketball camp for girls? In a place thats produced two Miss Basketballs and 15 girls state hoops champs and, oh, yeah, played host to two of the last three IHSAA girls state finals?
Yeah, I was wondering the same thing, says Richard Phillips of Soul1 Entertainment, whos putting together the inaugural Candice Wiggins All-Girls Basketball Camp at New Haven High School July 27-29. I did my research, and weve never had (a camp) like this. Its the first time its ever been done in Fort Wayne.
Lending her name, and presence, to it will be the aforementioned Wiggins, who plays for the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA now but made her name at Stanford, where she departed in 2008 as both the schools and the Pac-10s all-time womens scoring leader. Alongside will be Notre Dame standout Skylar Diggins, Liza Clemons from Purdue and, before that, Elmhurst and Snider, and a couple of players from Wisconsin, Phillips says.
So its just going to be an amazing camp, he goes on.
And its been awhile in the making. The germ of the idea came about in March 2011, when Phillips and Wiggins, whove been friends for a while, were at the NCAA tournament watching Diggins, a mutual pal, play for Notre Dame. One night they got to talking about how they could all do something for girls in Indiana, and a light bulb went on over Phillips head.
I said Well, lets go ahead and do a WNBA camp, Phillips says.
Easier said than done. Coordinating everyones schedules took some time, and the dates that ended up being chosen were chosen because they coincided with the WNBAs break for the London Olympics, freeing up Wiggins to come to Fort Wayne.
In addition to the camp, there will be a celebrity game July 29 pitting the women helping out with the camp against a collection of former Fort Wayne male stars.
Weve gotten a great response so far, Phillips says. Ive been getting calls from other coaches saying that within the next week or so theyre going to sign up their whole team. And my sponsors (Custom Mattress, Kelley Automotive, Wrigley Field Bar and Grill, Subway, VoiceLink Wireless and Crazy Pinz) have been real helpful.