Henry Dugat, who first earned acclaim playing basketball for the Dayton Broncos, then at Baylor University and most recently as the point guard/shooting guard for BK Dnipro (Ukraine-Superleague), was greeted like a hometown hero on Wednesday when he stopped by the Dayton HS gym where a boys basketball camp was underway this week.
The 2005 Dayton HS graduate was greeted by dozens of aspiring young athletes, DHS Head Basketball Coach Rodrick Bankhead, who played alongside Dugat in high school, and Coach Geoff McCracken, who was then the head coach but now is the high school principal.
Dugat told the young athletes that the secret to success in playing basketball professionally relies not just on natural talent but an athlete’s willingness to work hard.
“The main thing you will need is dedication. You have to be willing to dedicate yourself to what you want to be. Find someone who is doing what you want to do and study them. Follow them. See the types of things they do. See how they train and get ready for games. You have to be willing to put the work in,” he said. “No one can tell you how much you can practice. Practice at home outside of these practices. Find ways to get better at what you are doing, and most importantly, never give up on your dreams. Whatever you dream of doing, go do it.”
Bankhead echoed that sentiment, pointing out that now that Dugat has reached the level in his career to play professionally, he will must continue to put the work in every day.
“Even now, he practices every day. You can’t just go home, sit around and then, when basketball season comes up, decide to be a basketball player again. It takes practice,” Bankhead said.
Dugat was presented a framed, signed Dayton Broncos jersey with the number 4, the same number he played in high school. Making the presentation with Bankhead was Coach McCracken.
“Every person who plays basketball in this gym should know who Henry Dugat is. Coach Bankhead said it and I want to reiterate it. Henry got to be a professional basketball player, and was able to play for Baylor University for four years, because of the time he put in. Yes, he had a lot of talent but he worked at that talent. He was always the first one here and the last one to leave the gym. That work ethic has carried him through,” McCracken said.
As this year marks the 23rd year of McCracken running basketball camps at the high school, Bankhead also surprised McCracken with a signed and framed jersey.
The camp ended with top athletes being rewarded with small trophies and then a pizza party.