Operation UNITE’s free basketball camp is a terrific idea to push young people to sharpen their skills on the court as opposed to spending their time possibly getting into trouble.

The event, which offers two versions — one at Magoffin County High School on Monday and the other at Boyd County High School on Thursday, June 10 — is not just about basketball.

In eastern Kentucky, where basketball is popular but unfortunately so are drugs, the “Shoot Hoops Not Drugs” theme is fitting.

Former Kentucky basketball player Jarrod Polson is the featured tutor as he will conduct the free three-hour camps.

Polson will lead the charge in conveying a message of how to keep away from drugs that have plunged this area deep into the opioid crisis and instead how to engage in a healthy lifestyle. It will cover all the bases — to use a phrase from another sport — in terms of how to help with emotional, physical and mental health.

UNITE has conducted 86 regional basketball camps with 11,500 youth participants representing 63 Kentucky counties, 20 other states and two countries.

We applaud a job well done by this organization.

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