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NBA free agent Josh Huestis hosts basketball camp and speaks on mental health

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Wednesday is day two of the Josh Huestis basketball camp at CMR.

Huestis is currently an NBA free agent. He most recently played with the Oklahoma City Thunder. But with the NBA and school both on summer vacation, Huestis is relishing the chance to come back home and help foster growth in the electric city's hoops community. Huestis says that his basketball camp is something he looks forward to every year and hopes to help the young players develop their skills and reinforce their love for the game. 

"I'm trying to help, you know, grow a love for basketball. We do this with kids of so many different ages. Try to instill a love for the game and then also the fundamentals," he said. "In today's day and age the fundamentals and the basics can get overlooked a lot, but I think they're really important, so we try to bring that in for the camp and teach these kids the proper way to play the game and how to grow their game in the best way. And by doing that I think it's gonna create a lot of really good players."

After camp, Huestis swapped his gym shorts and basketball shoes for a suit and tie to speak at the center for mental health's fundraiser.

"I told myself since I got to where I am that I wanted to do something like this, because I owe this to everybody that someone who makes it to the highest level, who has these accomplishments, that it doesn't fix mental health or always make you happy. And if it can happen to me it can happen to anybody, " said Huestis.

Despite his 6-foot-8 and seemingly superhuman frame, Huestis showed that he too is vulnerable, sharing his story and pouring out his soul to inspire the crowd. 

"It's terrifying and it's kind of like you dig yourself a hole because I get out there and I feel those and I go, oh no, I don't want this to happen... I'm really anxious, this shouldn't be happening and I continue to just dig myself deeper and deeper into anxiety and fear. My legs would get weak, I would get physically sick," Huestis told the audience. 

"This is something that over the past few years, I've had a lot of time to think about. The pain that I've gone through and the struggle that I've had, if I could make it easier to even just one person, then I owe it to myself and I owe it to them to do stuff like this and to try to help. And I'm so happy that I was able to be here and to speak in front of these people and to make a difference," Huestis said.