Professional basketball player, Whitmer grad gives back with youth camp

Nigel Hayes-Davis is hosting a basketball camp at his alma mater. The cost of admission: donating one item of clothing to the Whitmer Clothing Closet.
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 5:42 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A professional basketball player returned home to Toledo to give back to the community that raised him and inspire the next generation.

Nigel Hayes-Davis tipped off his first youth basketball camp at his alma mater on Monday. The cost of admission: donating one item of clothing to the Whitmer Clothing Closet.

Nearly 300 kids from grades 3-5 filled the basketball courts at Whitmer High School Monday. Students in grades 6-8 will join on Tuesday.

Bouncing basketballs, squeaking shoes and clamoring kids -- those are the sounds of Nigel Hayes-Davis’ basketball camp coming to life. The kids are learning fundamental skills, getting some exercise and meeting new friends.

“I always want to give back to my community, the kids especially,” Hayes-Davis said. “The kids need to know that hard work in basketball will work in any other sport, or in life period. Teamwork in basketball has to help you in teamwork in your life -- with your family, friends when you go to work and everything that you do.”

Nigel Hayes-Davis is coaching the youth with the help of his high school teachers and former coach.

“He’s an extremely unselfish human being, and he’s very courteous and he thinks a lot of others,” Bruce Smith, Hayes-Davis’ high school basketball coach said. “This does not surprise me at all that he’s taken on this venture to give back.”

The pro basketball player has made quite an impression on some of the kids.

“I really like his shoes,” Areej Akl, a third-grader attending the camp said. “And he’s my favorite basketball player!”

Hayes-Davis said he’s hoping to show the kids that all the people who supported him throughout his journey are still around to now support them.

“It’s all about where I came, so when the kids see me and go ‘wow, you got there,’ I’m showing them... the people that helped me get there are still in my life,” Hayes-Davis said.

The two-day basketball camp marks the first Hayes-Davis has hosted since beginning his professional career six years ago. He’s spent the last five years playing in Europe.

“Basketball has taken me all around the world, but Toledo will always be home,” Hayes-Davis said. “It’s always been my dream to host my first basketball camp in Toledo, and it means a lot to have so many people and businesses from the community come together as one family to support the kids.”