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McCarty, Corbin make Team USA to play basketball in Costa Rica

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By Kristin Beck

 Two Carroll County High School basketball teammates will soon be testing their skills on the international level. Sophomore Caleb McCarty and junior Dakota Corbin have been selected as members of the Sportek Events 2012 Team USA basketball team and will be traveling to Costa Rica in July.

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“I’m pretty excited, blessed to do this,” McCarty said.

The boys said they received letters in the mail from Sportek, inviting them to the summer basketball experience.

“I’m pumped,” Corbin said. “I never thought I’d be doing something like that.”

Sportek Events is a sports travel firm based in Raleigh, N.C. Student-athletes invited to participate in the summer experience will be traveling to one of the following countries: Costa Rica, Bahamas, Brazil or Switzerland. In a previous interview, Sportek Program Director Nate Sparrow said athletes are discovered by either online scouting sites or area contacts. About 90 percent of the invitations to the program come from online recruiting services or websites like MaxPreps. The rest are selected based on reports from coaches and administrators.

Athletes from across the country are invited to the program, Sparrow said. Once invited, they will undergo the application phase in which they must submit a coach and character reference. This provides the program a little more in depth information on the athletes. After passing this phase, athletes receive a welcome packet giving them information on each international program, he said. Itineraries are posted online, and athletes register for regional meetings to go over each program.

Neither McCarty nor Corbin knew the other was also attending the camp until they saw each other at a regional meeting held in Lexington in either December or January. Both said they were happy to see a familiar face.

“It made it a lot easier to have someone to talk to that you know,” McCarty said.

The Panthers will be traveling down to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. together by car with Corbin’s dad and will be rooming together during the trip.

The trip begins July 28 with a two-day Team USA High Intensity Training Boot Camp. Corbin said he was not looking forward to this part of the trip. Campers are instructed to complete an 85-day training program in preparation for boot camp, he said.

However, he was excited about being around the NBA trainers, saying he thought there would be a 4-1 ratio of players to trainers. “I’m looking forward to that because I’ll learn a lot.” Scouts from Division I-III also will be in attendance.

From there, the team will travel to Costa Rica. Both Corbin and McCarty said they are worried about the flight. Corbin said he is afraid of heights. “I hate heights, so the plane ride is going to be weird.”

McCarty said he has not flown since he was little, which he doesn’t really remember. “I’m pretty nervous about that plane ride.”

In Costa Rica, the athletes will enjoy zip-lining in the Arenal Mountain and a white water rafting trip and will have the opportunity to tour the area, according to Sportek Events’ website. They also will receive additional coaching from NBA trainer Ganon Baker before beginning the two-day tournament.

Athletes will return to the United States Aug. 5.

Corbin said he is looking forward to playing against higher-skilled people and “seeing what there is outside of our surrounding counties. … I’m really glad I got this opportunity because it will open up a lot of doors for me.”

McCarty said he is excited about the camp, meeting new teammates, improving his basketball skills and the overall experience. “It will be cool to see how they do stuff, different drills and stuff like that,” he said.

“I just thank God I got the trip and hope He keeps me safe while I’m down there and not get hurt,” he said. “My Bible teacher always taught me, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,’ Philippians 4:13. I just hope I can use that and become a better basketball player and person in general.”