Kingston, NK stars hope to raise floor of Kitsap basketball

It is not every day a Kingston Buccaneer and North Kitsap Viking get along.

“In the county, there are alliances like a Kingston person may not train with a Poulsbo,” former Kingston standout basketball player George Hill III said. “We got to raise you guys all up, and let everyone succeed. Everyone needs to be better so iron can sharpen iron.”

Hill III connected with Viking senior Cade Orness to run a winter basketball camp at North Kitsap High School Dec. 18-20. However, the idea for basketball camps has been passed through generations within Kitsap County.

“Shoutout to Jimmy King, he was my trainer,” Hill III said. “It is like the generations of training. I take a lot of what Jimmy taught me.”

Orness said, “I met George in second grade. I walked into the gym working on form shots, and he gave me recognition at the camp. In eighth grade, we really started training.”

The two began running camps together last summer. Then they came up with the idea to run this winter camp. The camp had 28 kids split into elementary kids, and middle school boys and girls. Hill III and Orness ran drills on footwork, skill moves and more.

“This was an introductory camp,” Orness said. “We plan to do a lot more in Kitsap and broaden the skill development. The way we train is with small critiques. We never change too many things. We are fine-tuning.”

Hill III added, “They learned the importance of footwork and balance. Some of these things they are learning now, I didn’t learn until I was at Washington State (University). They are getting an early introduction and by the time they get into high school, they will be competitive and have an opportunity for success.”

Hill III works with all types of players nationwide. He is also one of the top trainers in the county. So, he has seen many types of playstyles. He is not worried about shaping a player, but rather making them better for their playstyle.

“I like boxing a lot so the expression styles make fights huge like basketball,” Hill III said. “There is no cookie-cutter way to train a player. I told the kids at the end of camp basketball is self-expression. Everyone is going to be different but we can use these tools to sharpen our skill set and become the best we can be.”

The winter camp was run by Orness’ DRIVE Basketball and Hill III’s Giveback Projects Foundation. Both are nonprofits so money raised goes to a variety of places.

“It goes back to us running more camps,” Hill III said. “The ultimate goal is to create a scholarship fund for higher academic retention and higher education for Native American youth because we have a higher dropout rate than most demographics.”

Hill III, from Suquamish, played for WSU about a decade ago.

Hill III and Orness plan to expand their camps across the peninsula. “Our mission since the first day has been raising the floor,” Orness said. “The ceiling is as high as it can be but the floor needs to be higher in the county. We want to put Kitsap on the map but give these kids the opportunities and support we wish we had when we were younger.”

Although Orness will be graduating this spring, he plans to help Hill III at camps until his college basketball career begins.

“We plan to run a big camp this summer with about 90 kids,” Orness said. “We plan to branch out and go to Port Angeles, South Kitsap, Gig Harbor. We will break down into more training as much as I can and help with the youth.”

Hill III said: “I’m very thankful for coach (Scott) Orness giving me the opportunity to coach Cade in middle school at Drive. That gave me the inside to coaching and trainings throughout the week and getting into the local hoop scene. It’s Jimmy, me and Cade if you want to train for basketball so we can get you right.”