By Caliyah Camay
To say patience is a virtue is an understatement, it’s really, more of a skill—one that can be learned and developed through consistent practice. According to the dictionary, patience is defined as: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Patience is really the state of being during the experience and reaction. Whether you’re trying to be patient with yourself, others or in life in general, it seems to always require a willingness to deal with delays or obstacles. National Youth All-American had an opportunity to speak with 12 year old Class of 2025 Cameron Sparks and his mother, Cassie, about the importance of exercising patience during his basketball career, greatly contributing to him growing into such a versatile player.
Cameron has been shooting hoops since he was 5 years old, and today, at a towering 6’0 feet tall he is nearly an entire foot taller than the average 12-year-old. His height is often thought of as an unfair advantage, creating added scrutiny surrounding his play on the court and influencing how people perceive him. According to Cassie (Cameron’s mom), because of his height, others think he is playing down, convinced that he is older than the competition, implying that he’s cheating.
Despite these personal challenges, Cameron has grown to be an all around player and trusted ball handler on his team, even bringing the ball up the court, weaving through defenders during full-court press breaks! Despite his obvious size advantage, he continues to work tirelessly on his versatility as a player, focusing on ball handling and shooting long range shots.
Cassie describes her hard-working son as a “charismatic, caring and optimistic person.” She emphasizes to him that “the mind does not outlast the body.” Cassie, encourages her son to read daily, stressing it’s importance for growth. Reading before competing has actually became a pre-game ritual for him, which is as refreshing as it is impressive for such a young student-athlete.
Cameron sees himself as a budding leader, on and off the court while his mother proudly describes him as “soft-spoken leader who is not aggressive” by nature but prefers to lead by example. On the court, he knows he must be the one to make good things happen for he and his teammates - and he knows the best way to do it is by giving those around him a reason to believe and to follow.
Cameron’s favorite player of all time is Kevin Durant, who is considered on the taller side for his position the NBA, kind of like Cameron, but is considered an extremely versatile player who rebounds, shoots, and can run the guard position etc. - footsteps he would love to follow in and the type of player he looks up to a great deal!