Former Arkansas Razorback basketball player, and current college referee, Ernie Murry offered words of inspiration during a visit to Salem June 22.
Murry took part in Immanuel Baptist's basketball camp in the Dawg Pound on the campus of Salem High School.
Murry spoke with close to 40 kids attending the camp, advising the youngsters, "Don't ever forget where you're from," he said.
And that's something that Murry has remembered since leaving the small town of Wabbaseka (population 274) before going on to attend Mississippi County Community College for two years before transferring to Fayetteville to become a member of Nolan Richardson's Razorbacks for two years.
Murry showed the campers the Final Four ring he earned during the Razorbacks' run to Denver in 1990, along with his uniform.
He also reminded the young hoopsters to "keep working hard," explaining that college practice under the guidance of Nolan Richardson often began at 5 a.m. and required extra work, shooting as many as 300 shots in one session.
Keith Gray, one of the volunteer coaches working the camp, and also a former teammate of Murry at MCCC, introduced Murry as "an example of a great player, someone who played hard, played smart and cared about his teammates."
This year's camp was the second one sponsored by Immanuel Baptist. "We wanted to do this for the community and to give these children a chance to play," said Pastor Alan Winberry. "We stressed fundamentals, teamwork and sportsmanship."
The camp was led by former coach and superintendent Sam Casey, and volunteer coaches included Gray, a former Arkansas State Indian, Salem Head Basketball Coach Casey Scribner, Winberry, Ron Helm and Seth Lindbloom, a current member of the Salem Greyhound basketball team.
According to Winberry, Immanuel Baptist offers the camp at no charge and plans are in the works to host another next year.
This year's camp drew over 50 students throughout the week.