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Basketball LB In NBA St. Anthony Youth Sports

St. Anthony Legend Darrick Martin Hosts Annual Books & Basketball Camp

Dating back to his playing days with the Los Angeles Clippers in the late 1990’s, St. Anthony alum Darrick Martin has provided a yearly Books & Basketball Camp for kids in the Long Beach area. What was once the highlight of his offseason continues to be a staple for Martin and his family each summer, where kids are taught lessons in life and in basketball.

On the court, Martin was a McDonald’s All-American point guard with the Saints before playing his college ball at UCLA. He then went on to a 13-year professional career in the NBA, but he’s never lost sight of home. 

Martin’s annual camp is a family affair, with his mom, sister, brother, and nephew all pitching in to help. And while Martin’s playing days are behind him, he still made sure to mix in a solid run of 2-on-2 against the campers, with his son, Darrick, Jr., as his teammate.

“It’s huge. It’s been the highlight of my offseason and of my summer for a long time,” Martin said. “As you can see my family, it’s mandatory that they come and work. It’s a chance for us as a family to give back to the community. We really don’t have any sponsors, it’s basically all on me and my family, and we take care of everything.”

The camp has changed locations over the years, making stops at Compton College and Lynwood High before returning to Martin’s old stomping grounds at St. Anthony. As one of the school’s most prominent alumni, it’s a great showcase for Saints pride and a way to keep the school’s traditions alive.


Jessica Zanatta, a St. Anthony alum and the school’s current Communications & Alumni Coordinator, attended Martin’s camp when she was in middle school. She stepped away from her desk last week to visit the gym and take a trip down memory lane, reflecting on a camp that had a big impact on her life.

“This camp was the thing that taught me to follow my dreams, and that I could be anything I wanted to be,” Zanatta said.

The week-long camp is open to boys and girls from 3rd-8th grade, with the goal of teaching them a lot more than just basketball. This year, motivational speaker Daniel Armstrong made multiple appearances with the kids to share his “Find A Tree” program, intended to inspire kids to envision their future and pursue their dreams.

While on the court, campers were taught by Martin himself, along with Coach Levi Wenrich, an assistant coach at East LA College, plus members of the St. Anthony basketball program and other guests throughout the week. Wenrich met Martin last summer while coaching in the same gym, and they clicked right away. When Martin asked him to come out and coach the camp, he jumped at the opportunity.

“I said, ‘Coach, I'll make myself available. Anything with you, I'm in,’” Wenrich explained. “Our sons are the same age, and so we connect as dads over that, and I get a ton of advice from him as a leader, as a coach, and as a father … It was a huge blessing for me to come here, hang with Coach Martin, get to learn from him and work with him. And the kids have been great.”

Wenrich is a Southern California native who attended Hart High School and went on to start the basketball program at Castaic High. He said he appreciated Martin’s philosophy for working with young hoopers and teaching them the game at an early age.

“He had a great game plan in terms of making sure they get some fundamentals and they're building that skill set, but then a lot of competition, a lot of fun,” Wenrich said. “Today, the game can be a little bit over-coached at times, especially at a young age. We have a lot of players that specialize in the sport by the time they're nine. But Coach Martin’s got a really good philosophy on working with the youth: give them some skill work, let them work, but then you’ve got to let them find their own rhythm and feel the game.”

While the camp is tailored around teaching the game of basketball, the impact has gone far beyond just the 94 feet of hardwood. For Martin, that’s been the most rewarding part of the whole experience, and why the camp has remained a staple in the community.

“To see the kids over the years, I've met them in so many different walks of life,” said Martin of the camp’s legacy. “Whether I was in the store, on a basketball court, in a restaurant, they come up to me, and I have so many stories of kids saying, ‘You know, I was kind of going down the wrong way Coach Martin, but thanks to your camp and learning different life skills, I've been able to do this.’ And that always brings me to tears, because that's really what I want this camp to be about.”

Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.