These are the kind of nights that Putnam Science Academy basketball coach Tom Espinosa really enjoys. Sure, he likes all the wins the school’s prep team has racked up over the years – including a national championship in 2018.
But having 22 kids, ranging in age from 6-14 years old, in the gym for a Drills and Skills clinic gives him a good feeling, too.
“The big thing for me,” Espinosa said, “is to have the kids from the community come in and give them something to do. Kids love playing basketball, we love coaching the kids. It’s a good night. The kids are playing, hopefully they’re learning some things from us. It’s a lot of fun.”
Espinosa and assistant coaches Josh Scraba and Kevin Donovan put the players — who came from Putnam, Thompson, Pomfret, Brooklyn, and Woodstock — through ball-handling and shooting drills (off-the-dribble and catch-and-shoot), while also having them work on free throws and shots from the elbow. There were also a handful of full-court scrimmages.
Matthew Therrien, 8, is a center/power forward. But, as the game has changed dramatically in the last five-to-10 years, he was especially looking forward to the dribbling and shooting drills, and not so much anything to do on the blocks.
“Kemba Walker is my favorite player,” the young Celtics fan said. “It was Kyrie (Irving), but now it’s Kemba. He can dribble and shoot. That’s what I want to work on.” 
Nick Devlin, 10, had been to one of PSA’s previous Drills and Skills clinics before and knew he wanted to come back again.
“I like basketball and playing with my friends,” he said. “It’s a chance to work on basketball and just get better. I feel like I’ve gotten better on my ball-handling. I feel like I’m pretty good at it, but we got to work on combinations of skills, like through the legs and then crossovers or behind the back and crossovers. And I feel like I definitely got better.”
Espinosa and his coaches are planning to host other Drills and Skills clinics, for both boys and girls, on Columbus Day (October 14) and Veterans Day (November 11).


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