Community Sports

Ridnour returns to Blaine to host camp, possibly last before retirement

NBA point guard Luke Ridnour teaches dribbling drills to local kids at the Luke Ridnour Basketball Camp Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at Blaine High School. Ridnour’s 2015 camp begins Wednesday, July 29.
NBA point guard Luke Ridnour teaches dribbling drills to local kids at the Luke Ridnour Basketball Camp Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at Blaine High School. Ridnour’s 2015 camp begins Wednesday, July 29. The Bellingham Herald

The average NBA player’s career is less than five years long, according to Business Insider. Former Blaine standout Luke Ridnour’s has lasted 12.

But the 6-foot-2 guard is “leaning toward retirement” after a season when he played 47 games for the Orlando Magic, averaging four points and two assists per contest, before being traded four times in a span of six days during the offseason. It ended with the 34-year-old being waived by the Toronto Raptors on July 9.

“I’m just more about my family. If there’s a situation that’s good for them, then maybe,” Ridnour said in a phone interview. His family includes his wife, Katie, and his four sons, Beckett, Ryker, Kyson and Tredon. “But I’m still leaning toward hanging them up and getting to have good family time and find out what God has planned for me next. We’ll see what happens.”

Before Ridnour decides whether his lengthy career will end, he’ll return to the place his basketball career was born to hold the Luke Ridnour Basketball Camp, which starts Wednesday, July 29 and ends Friday, July 31, at Blaine High School. It’s the fifth year of the camp but the second consecutive at Blaine High School.

The camp costs $45 for 6- and 7-year-olds, whose session goes from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., and $75 for 8- to 12-year-olds, who will take the court from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Ridnour hasn’t decided where the proceeds will go yet, but it will likely be a local charity or community project, according to the camp’s website.

“It’s just a way for me to give back to the community and Whatcom County,” Ridnour said. “I love to get back there and get to know some of the kids.”

Ridnour’s camp not only strives to teach the fundamentals of basketball, but also “leadership principles” in the context of the sport. The camp’s wesbite has a quote that sums the motto up: “Talent will only get you so far, but character will sustain you through life.”

“I think character is what Luke’s about,” said Rob Ridnour, Luke’s dad and longtime coach in Whatcom County — both for Blaine and the Bellingham Slam. “He’s always had a really strong character. People know what he stands for and he hasn’t strayed from his Christian belief. He didn’t get caught up in the limelight of the NBA.”

That character is what’s helped Luke’s career last so long, Rob Ridnour said in a phone interview.

“People in the league knew about his character,” Rob Ridnour said. “They knew he was dependable and a great team and locker-room guy. That’s made him a very employable NBA player.”

His talent was part of it too, as he’s been able to average starter minutes (26.1 per game) over his career while putting up 9.3 points and 4.5 assists per game. But Luke Ridnour agreed having that team-first attitude and dedication to the sport has been the key to sustaining his career.

“I think a lot of it is how to treat your body. Treat your body like a temple. I’m always staying in shape, all year round,” Luke Ridnour said. “Basketball is a team sport and teams need locker room guys. There’s a lot of high-character individuals like that in the league.”

As a Christian family, the Ridnours believe Luke Ridnour has been able to stay away from any big injuries and have a successful career because of God.

“The reason I’m there is to spread the word of Jesus,” Ridnour said. “God has put me there to do that.”

It’s also been a been a blessing for Rob Ridnour, who has been able to get his basketball fix — when he wasn’t coaching — through his son.

“From a parent’s standpoint, it’s been awesome,” Rob Ridnour said. “How many parents get to watch their son for 12 years in the NBA? It’s been a great experience.”

While Luke Ridnour is leaning toward retirement, he knows basketball will always play a role in his life and he’ll always cherish his days as a pro.

“It’s been amazing, a true blessing. It’s something I never thought about happening, but it’s been fun. I’ve met a lot of great people along the way,” Ridnour said. “The competition is something I’ll miss a lot but I’m coaching my kids now and I’ll always stay around around the game.”

His camp Wednesday is just one way of doing that.

“Anything is possible if you dream big,” Ridnour said. “It doesn’t matter how small of a school or town you come from.”

Reach Joshua Hart at 360-715-2238 or joshua.hart@bellinghamherald.com.

Luke Ridnour Basketball Camp

Wednesday, July 29-Friday, July 31

Time: 9-10 a.m. for 6-7 year olds; 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for 8-12 year olds

Where: Blaine High School

Cost: $45 for 6-7 year olds; $75 for 8-12 year olds

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