RACHEL, W.Va – When Bob Devaul passed away a few months ago, his family wanted to do something as a tribute to the legacy of a beloved figure in the Marion County community.
With a handful of connections, a few phone calls and plenty of support from North Marion High School and the surrounding areas, sons Bobby and Danny were able to organize the first Bob Devaul Basketball Clinic, a completely free event for kids in and around Marion County to get instruction from some of the most famous faces in hoops in north central West Virginia.
I started looking at myself and said we’ve got to start doing something else for the kids in this area because we don’t get anything down here,” Bobby Devaul said, “So we put our heads together, me and my brother Danny who’s the operations guy and has been phenomenal. What can we do?
So we just start throwing stuff up in the air to see what would stick, ended up getting a camp with over a hundred kids. We have former WVU basketball players, current players, NBA players, the women’s team came. They’re phenomenal.
Local guys that were phenomenal. Dante and Darius Stills, they all just came back to give to the community because we wanted the kids to have a great time and we wanted something free for the kids because everybody’s trying to make money off of them. That’s not what we want.”
Support for the event came from all over with current and former members of the WVU football, men’s and women’s basketball teams, local hoops standouts and several other professional players serving as a camp counselors and local businesses providing prizes for raffles and competitions.
Since coming to WVU over a decade ago, Kevin Jones has since made Morgantown his home and has always wanted to have the opportunity to give back to the community that embraced him. He says that he jumps at the chance to take part in events like this.
“West Virginia is a second home. I still live in Morgantown. Any time I can give back to an event like this,
try to give as much time as I can to it,” he said “Like you said, so many people are giving their time to it as well. It’s great to see everyone come together as a family so I’m glad to be a part of it.”
For the local athletes taking part in the camp, it meant a little bit more to know that they were a part of something so important to the sports community that they were a part of growing up.
WVU football’s Dante Stills may compete on the gridiron now but he was also a hoops standout at Fairmont Senior High School and the opportunity to give back to Marion County in this way was something he couldn’t pass up.
“I love it. I love being around kids, expecially from my area, Marion County so I just love being here talking to the kids, hanging out with all the athletes,” he said, “I love it so I’m hanging out and having fun.”
With over 100 campers in attendance for instruction, followed by a three-point competition, slam dunk contest and exhibition game between the counselors, Devaul considers the first camp to be nothing but a smashing success and says that there are already plans coming together to make this an annual event.
“We’ve had professional teams reach out that want to be a part. Landau Eugene Murphy’s in here. He’s singing the national anthem. The guy won America’s Got Talent, he said, “We’ve had so many people reach out to help and more people want to help.
We were just overflooded with it so we had to stop but we’re going to continue to do it next year and to be honest with you, I’m interviewing with you but it’s the people when you walk in in these purple shirts that have made it so easy on me that I’m just walking around shaking hands honestly. The volunteers that are helping are phenomenal.”
The Bob Devaul Basketball Clinic brought not only athletes from all around the area together but drew in the North Marion community as well, making for an exciting day in Rachel.