Knicks bounce down to the Village for skills clinic

Two boys squared off during drills.

BY JOEY ZANNINO | On June 7, the New York Knicks came down to William F. Passannante Ball Field, at East Houston St. and Sixth Ave., to run a clinic for the Greenwich Village Youth Council’s spring basketball league.

The league debuted this spring and G.V.Y.C. has given new life to the park by working with the Parks Department to restore the court and by working with TrueBounce to secure a donation of brand-new backboards. The league is free for 200 middle-school boys and girls from the community and is supported by many community partners.

The Knicks ran a two-hour clinic that focused on skills and conditioning as much as discipline and character and delivered a positive message to the young people about hard work and dedication. Former Knick player and All-Star Vin Baker was on hand to offer coaching tips, along with Troy Bowers, the team’s fan and player development manager, who played pro ball in Europe, plus a team of Knicks staff, who all rotated skills stations and ran competitions for the youth. The event ended with giveaways from the Knicks, as well as refreshments donated by local restaurants.

It threatened to rain all afternoon, but that didn’t stop these young ballers from coming out to improve their skills with the Knicks

It is because of the support of the community that Greenwich Village Youth Council is able to continue to offer these programs and events to young people, who would normally not be able to afford such opportunities, free of charge. This summer, G.V.Y.C.’s free W. Fourth St. summer basketball league returns to “The Cage” for eight weeks with more than 400 boys and girls ages 13 to 17. Visit https://www.gvyc.net to find out how you can get involved.

Boys and girls doing squats at the conditioning station – good for keeping a low defensive posture.
Knicks staff, including Troy Bowers, left, with Vin Baker, second from right, and G.V.Y.C. Executive Director John Pettinato, far right.

Zannino is director, Greenwich Village Youth Council