Willie Cauley-Stein visits Manila for Jr. NBA Philippines

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 16) — National Basketball Association (NBA) player Willie Cauley-Stein is in the country for the Junior NBA Philippines training camp happening this weekend.

The Sacramento Kings big man arrived Tuesday and talked about the value of the program for young aspiring Filipino players.

Prior to his visit, the 24-year-old shared that while he has never set foot in the country before, he has heard many great things about the Philippines especially about the passion of its basketball fans.

This piqued interest led to his support in the Junior NBA's global youth basketball programs.

"The biggest thing with these is we're ensuring and promoting health and fitness so we use basketball to generate that especially right now in our generation," he said.

At just 15 years old, the Kansas native shares he made a bold decision of leaving his family, friends and hometown to pursue a bigger dream of playing basketball.

From Spearville, he moved to the bigger Olathe High School then played for the Kentucky Wildcats which eventually paved the way for him to be selected by the Kings in just his junior year as the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.

Even at a young age, Cauley-Stein said that passion can surmount sacrifices as long as one is determined to strive for something greater.

"Find something that you're passionate about and are chasing, that you're not like thinking about the sacrifices you're necessarily going to have to make but something that keeps you going where it's always something different, something more, something better you could be doing."

During the his stay in the country, he is set to impart his knowledge through a national training camp featuring 75 boys and girls aged 10-14.

He said he relates to these kids as he was also once a young basketball player with a dream.

Alongside him is former Women's National Basketball Association player and Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes. Together they will help identify the top eight boys and eight girls to be named as 2018 Junior NBA Philippines All-Stars.

The duo will then coach and teach the All-Star selection some fundamental skills as well as core values in the Junior NBA Alumni All-Star Game in Shanghai, China this October.