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Porac returns to area, speaks to kids at St. James

July 18, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

ST. JAMES - Williamsport graduate Richie Porac returned to the camp that helped shape his basketball mind.

Porac visited the Potomac Basketball Camp at St. James School on Monday morning and addressed the group of kids in grades 3 through 12. He gave a few brief drill sessions and offered advice for both on and off the court.

"I was here about two weeks ago, but before that it's been about seven or eight years," said Porac. "It feels nice to be back. To see the coaches and all the new kids is great. It brings back a lot of the experiences I had here."

Porac, who recently accepted a basketball coaching position with Magruder High School in Montgomery County, first educated the campers in his area of strength - defense. He stressed the significance of position and athleticism and emphasized the importance of being unselfish and putting the team's needs first.

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"He was in the same place as these kids are now," said camp coordinator Kevin Murphy, who also coached Porac at Williamsport. "He's a former camper who's come full circle. As a coach, I couldn't be more proud of a former player."

Later, Porac conducted drills on handling pressure on the court. He finished the session with a talk about being good players and, more importantly, good people.

"He should be considered a role model," Murphy said. "He's one of those players that every coach would love to have. He's smart and unselfish, and he's the kind of player that will play as hard in practice as he does in a game."

With his knowledge from Potomac, Porac helped Williamsport to a pair of Maryland Class 1A state tournament appearances before graduating in 1996. He went on to the University of Maryland, where he served as manager under head coach Gary Williams.

Though he wasn't actually playing, he still took in the information like a player, and his basketball repertoire grew. He said he even plans to adopt Williams' style of coaching.

"Coach Williams is an up-tempo, fast-paced guy," Porac said. "A lot of the things he does is what I'd like to try to do at Magruder, like transition defense for easy layups. He only recruits great athletes and I'm going to have a lot of very good players to work with."

Porac will coach the junior varsity team at Magruder and will also serve as an assistant to varsity head coach Dan Harwood, who played under Rick Pitino at Boston University and has been named Montgomery County coach of the year five times.

Porac hopes the position is a pit stop on his track to bigger things.

"I'm content with where I am starting and I'm ready to continue building on it," he said. "Eventually, in about three years, or so, I want to become a (varsity) head coach at a big school, like Coach Harwood is at Magruder. I don't know if I want to go any further and coach college basketball or anything. I'm going to take one thing at a time as it comes."

Porac has absorbed basketball from a variety of coaches, but it all began in a local gymnasium, with a small group of committed coaches at the Potomac Basketball Camp.

"My foundation of basketball and coaching comes from all the years at this camp," Porac said. "I can now lean on things that I learned in camp. A lot of the philosophies and ideas I have now came from here."

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