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Watch Now: Wayne Dunning’s BASIC Basketball Camp Teaches More Than Basketball Skills | Education

Wayne Dunning chats with campers during the annual Wednesday basketball camp at the SkyWalker International Sports Complex in Decatur.



DECATUR – RJ Walker Jr. attended Wayne Dunning’s Brothers and Sisters in Christ BASIC basketball camp as a child and his and Dunning family have always been close.

So when Walker signed up to play basketball at the University of Idaho, a Division I school, it was obvious he would visit the camp to talk to the kids and get them to aim high.






RJ Walker Jr., a Decatur native who plays basketball for the University of Idaho, works with the campers. Walker encouraged the children to stay in school and pursue their passion.


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“I pray at night,” Walker told the youth. “I believe in myself and I have faith. You must have faith.

Walker’s dad, Rodney Walker, runs the SkyWalker International Sports Complex, where the camp is held, and basketball has always been a part of young Walker’s life, he said.

“I will never forget,” Walker said. “I met (Dunning) in fourth grade. He was my substitute teacher and he told us he got drenched by Michael Jordan. And then he always told us he played basketball and I always admired him.

The young Walker was recruited by Idaho because during the pandemic shutdowns, Illinois schools were among the few still playing, and when Idaho officials saw him play, they offered him a place in their university.

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RJ Walker works with the campers at the annual Wayne Dunning Wednesday basketball camp at the SkyWalker International Sports Complex in Decatur. Visit www.herald-review.com


CLAY JACKSON HERALD & REVIEW


Being away from home has been good for him, Walker said, prompting him to devote his time to the hard work of getting ready for the gym and weight room, sometimes two sessions a day. He didn’t declare a major, deciding to spend his freshman year in Idaho focusing on basketball and its required classes, though he turned to athletic therapy as a career.

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Dunning ran the camp for 20 years, inviting young people to come and learn the basics of basketball and also some life lessons. Guest speakers like Walker urge children to stay in school, find and pursue their passion, and stay on the right path.






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“The camp is a base basketball camp,” Dunning said. “It’s actually a Christian basketball camp, sponsored by Faith Fellowship Christian Church (where Dunning is pastor). We just have a lot of basketballs lying around and we’re trying to teach life skills. We teach the love of Christ. We pray in the morning and we pray when the session is over, and we just teach them fellowship, unity, good understanding, and the world events that are unfolding right now.






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Wayne Dunning, center, chats with campers during the annual basketball camp Wednesday at the SkyWalker International Sports Complex in Decatur. Visit www.herald-review.com


CLAY JACKSON HERALD & REVIEW


During Wednesday’s session, Walker played a game with the kids and was generous in passing the ball and encouraging them to play most of the time. those who play and take turns on the floor as part of the action.

Harlei Coleman-Tate attended because her grandmother pushed her.

“I never really had a passion for sports,” said Harlei, a student at American Dreamers STEM Academy. “I wanted to try it out to see if it was something that interested me and if I had a passion for it, and I think it interests me and I want to improve myself.”






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Wayne Dunning, center, chats with attendees at the annual basketball camp Wednesday at the SkyWalker International Sports Complex in Decatur. The camp includes the basics of basketball as well as some life lessons.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


Lanae Davis, a niece of Dunning, plays basketball at Eisenhower High School, where she will be a junior this month.

“I went to this camp a few years ago,” she said. “I’m learning more and learning to stay humble and keep my stamina. That’s what I love, learning to keep my stamina.

Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter

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