The way Micah Schnyders sees it, he’s been blessed with the gift to play basketball at a high level, and with a platform.
He’s going to do whatever he can to give back.
The former Yorkville Christian star, fresh off his first season at Eastern Illinois, is doing just that two-fold next month – passing on his basketball knowledge and helping a good cause.
Schnyders, the 2020 Record Newspapers Player of the Year, is hosting “Hoops for Hunger” basketball skills clinics Aug. 14 at Yorkville Christian High School.
The two clinics, for grades K to five and grades six to nine, cost $15, and campers are asked to bring at least one canned food item. Collected food items and proceeds from the camp will go to the Kendall County Food Pantry and other local food pantries.
“I’m beyond excited,” Schnyders said. “It’s a neat opportunity to teach the youth some basketball fundamentals and give back.”
The genesis of the event started with Schnyders’ grandfather Jacob Schnyders, who worked in the grocery business for 40 years and would give canned food donations to local food pantries.
Micah’s dad, Tim, took that idea, combined it with his love of basketball and started running camps for kids with the proceeds going toward a food pantry.
“I was my dad’s demonstrator, doing the drills, in grade school and the first year of high school,” Schnyders said. “I always enjoyed doing that, knowing that you are doing something good that you believe in.”
Now Micah Schnyders is taking it on.
With the new NCAA regulations allowing collegiate athletes to earn compensation for their name, image and likeness, Schnyders can do events like this with his name and image, although he won’t be making any money off this particular event.
Schnyders made the camp inexpensive – $15 – so people also can bring a canned good to donate. Any money left over after paying coaches and buying camp T-shirts, Schnyders is going grocery shopping to buy jello for the New Life Church of Yorkville, where his other grandpa preaches often.
“That’s what is cool about this camp, I’m using my name and platform, but I’m not making any money,” Schnyders said. “I’ve said before, if I can use my platform and try to benefit the community I want to do it.”
As a senior, Schnyders led Yorkville Christian to a school record 24 wins and set school records for points and assists as a senior, averaging 25.5 points to finish with 1,587 career points.
He said his freshman year at Eastern Illinois during a pandemic, to be completely honest, was a challenge.
Other than in-person classes twice a week and practice, Schnyders spent the rest of his time confined to the bubble of his 10-by-10-foot room. He came down with COVID-19 around the holidays and had to quarantine twice because of a close contact.
He was scheduled to redshirt the season, but was granted eligibility through an NCAA waiver, made his collegiate debut Jan. 14 and got into six games as a freshman with a season-high 21 minutes against Belmont.
“It was really, really difficult to get into rhythm after being out but it was also a learning experience. That type of experience I don’t take for granted,” he said. “Those difficult times make you appreciate things. It was a blessing in disguise in a way.”
Schnyders looks forward to reuniting with former Yorkville Christian teammates Elijah Fisher and Chase DiVito – and possibly Jaden Schutt – working the camp.
“We really want to emphasize skill work and fundamentals, and try to create a foundation in the time that we have,” Schnyders said. “Stationary ballhandling, finishing around the rim, layups, how to pass, simple skills that they can take home and work on.”
The clinics are open to boys and girls entering kindergarten through ninth grade. Grades K-5 will go from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and grades six to nine will go from 12:30 to 2 p.m. The cost of the clinic is $15 and each participant is asked to bring at least one canned food item (cash only). Each participant will receive a T-shirt. All food items collected and proceeds from the camp will go to the Kendall County Food Pantry and a few other local food pantries. Registration will be taken the day of the camp starting at 9:30 a.m. for the morning session and noon for the afternoon session. Registration forms are available at the school.
For information about the clinics or for a registration form, email Director of Outreach and Enrollment, Tim Schnyders, at email@example.com.