Pro hoop player helps kids build skills at Dover YMCA

Dwight Burke

Dwight Burke

DOVER — Basketball has taken Dwight Burke all over the world.

The game’s latest stop for him is at the Dover YMCA.

Burke, a former player at Marquette University and current professional basketball player, is running multiple camps at the YMCA this summer.

It’s a busy summer for Burke, who just started his own company, Engineered For Success, in March after finishing up his season playing basketball in Sweden. He is at the YMCA virtually every day, with a basketball skill series that takes place this upcoming week Monday to Friday at 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., with more camps scheduled for later this summer.

“This is where I want to spread my wings,” Burke said. “I don’t feel like there are a lot of opportunities in this area for kids to meet people with my credentials that can offer the things I can offer. I figured this would be a good place to start.”

Burke does have a connection to Delaware. He is originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., but moved to Newark with his mother when he was 12.

He spent two years at Christiana High before he played his junior year at Rice in New York and his senior year at St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey.

Burke played at Marquette from 2005-2009, teaming with future NBA players Wesley Matthews and Jimmy Butler. He has played professionally in Sweden, Chile, France, the Czech Republic, Japan, Switzerland and Lithuania.

He came to Dover after his season in Sweden and was working out in the YMCA when he was approached by Drew Castagna, the new sports director at the Dover YMCA.

“I kind of knew he had to have played somewhere,” Castagna said. “When he told me about his credentials and seeing him work out, I knew he would be someone who could provide a quality program here, and he has so much to offer that’s more than just basketball.”

Burke’s upcoming camp at the YMCA is July 27-31 and Aug. 3-7. It’s for ages 8-17 and runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Prices are $65 for full YMCA members and $85 for community members.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays Burke runs a skills academy at the YMCA from 3-5 p.m. Prices for that are $25 a week for YMCA members and $40 a week for community members.

Interested players for either camp should contact Castagna at acastagna@ymcade.org or 302-346-9622 and Burke if they have any questions at 302-276-3676.

“I want to teach some of things that have been instilled in me,” Burke said. “Going to Marquette as a player I learned so much and I want to teach that drive and kids to learn that nothing comes easy. If you want something in life you have to put in the time and effort to get where you want to go.”

Burke has also partnered with the Dover Housing Authority for more basketball camps this summer.

“They’re looking for something to do to take kids away from negative influences,” he said. “That’s important for me because my mother moved out of Brooklyn to take me away from negative influences to do something I was passionate about. It’s a great opportunity for me to grow as a businessman, as a trainer and just help these kids to see that life is bigger than the things surrounding them currently.”

Burke, who will turn 29 in August, is still planning on playing somewhere overseas next season but decided now was the best time to start his business.

“Once I’m done playing, the game is still going to go on so I want to play a part in impacting young players,” Burke said. “I want to help players reach their full potential to maybe go on to do some of the things I’ve done and maybe even go further than I have. That’s my main mission with what I’m doing now. I want to branch it out as much as possible.”

“It was a no-brainer to bring him in for the summer,” Castagna said.

Burke said he’s hoping people would consider him a basketball ambassador for the YMCA, but the camps will also focus on more than basketball.

Each day will have a session dedicated to a key off-the-court area such as nutrition, academic responsibility, teamwork and sportsmanship.

“For me, life as an athlete isn’t just being an athlete,” Burke said. “I need to stress that to the kids, especially if they want to take it to the next level. You have to handle everything off the court correctly. You have to be the best player you can be but you also have to be the best person and the best student too. If you’re not eligible, you can’t play.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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