THOMASVILLE — Eleven years later, Adrian Knight continues to be awe-struck.

Despite having attended the Charlie Ward basketball camp — which concluded Thursday — since its inception 11 years ago, the Thomas County Central senior continues to be inspired.

“What brings me back is listening to a guy that plays sports so well, but has a great relationship with God,” Knight said. “He tells everybody about his life and what he did to make him become great.

“That’s the Heisman Trophy winner, the Heisman. That’s the highest honor you can get for a quarterback besides the Super Bowl and the national championship. He won that, too. I’m still in awe every time I see him.”

When the Ward camp began, Knight lived in Seminole County. That didn’t stop the future Yellow Jacket from making annual summer trips to Thomasville.

“When I was a little boy, my eyes were just sparkling with joy, like, ‘Charlie, Charlie, Charlie,’” Knight recalled. “It’s never changed because I still look up to him. I used to watch him when I was little in ’93 — Countdown to Glory.”

That’s the impact Ward continues to have on his camp participants. Those that have attended once want to come back — again and again. Atlanta native Lewis Palmer is back for his 10th year.

“No matter how many times you talk to him, there’s always so much more that he can tell you that he didn’t tell you last year,” Palmer said. “He always has so much more just because of the experience he’s been through, playing in the NBA, playing football. Every time I talk to him, it’s just like ‘Wow.’”

Ward’s experience as an NBA player with the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets has had a profound effect on Knight’s basketball abilities.

Just this past season, Knight was a part of the Yellow Jackets’ first ever region championship. Much of the credit to Knight’s progress on the course is credited to Ward.

“As much as he talks to us about God, he teaches us about sports, too,” Knight noted. “He teaches about the basics of basketball and you can’t play basketball with fundamentals.”

Said Ward: “He’s made some significant strides from the time that I’ve seen him this year. It’s good to see.”

Even after Knight graduates from Central, he still considers coming back next year — as an instructor.

“I would try to come back and help the kids,” Knight said.

Trending Video

Recommended for you