Thinking Inside the Box
Brandon Gonzalez-Cottrell has run the local Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club with his wife, Adriana, since August 2020. They brought the children to Conn in two waves on a Salvation Army bus from their center on Governor Winthrop Boulevard in downtown New London. The couple’s 14-month-old daughter, Phoebe, played with a basketball as the clinic went on.
“Our facility has no gym, so we’re very grateful to Conn College for opening up theirs for the kids to use,” Gonzalez-Cottrell said. The children also attended clinics at Conn run by the College’s men’s basketball team during the fall semester.
When asked what she was most looking forward to teaching the children about basketball, Williams smiled and said, “I don’t know. The kids are just having a good time. I’m just here for the vibes.” At one point early in the clinic, Williams stopped to carefully tie a young girl’s red Nikes.
The one-hour event began with a distribution of T-shirts bearing the Sun’s logo, and then children eased into an open court with energetic music playing in the background. They moved on to stretching and dribbling exercises and then practiced different bounce passes with a partner. Toward the end, they divided into two groups to practice shooting on either end of the court. They capped off the event with a group photo in front of a Salvation Army backdrop.
Afterward, Lynch commented, “The group had a ton of fun, and you could tell they really enjoyed the experience.”
Gonzalez-Cottrell said the event was “super special,” adding, “The kids were buzzing for days after.”