NORMAL, Illinois (WMBD) – Five months after being named the next leader of Illinois State’s men’s basketball, Coach Ryan peakon wanted to open a door to the community with his annual camp this past week.

“I want the kids to first and foremost to have a lot of fun with this experience. Camps are designed to have fun. I want to educate them and hopefully grow their games. You know make them a part of our community and our basketball culture and feel like their family.”

Ryan Pedon, Head Illinois State men’s basketball coach

After 2 decades as an assistant, including for Ohio State, Pedon is embracing the challenge of his first head coaching job.

“Meeting people,” he said, “new people and building new relationships. When you don’t know anyone coming in the door I want the people to understand that we’re welcoming them in and we’re also doing our best as a staff and as a program to integrate ourselves into the community.”

One thing coach wants to make clear to the area is that his program will be more involved than just on gameday.

“First and foremost I want our players to be active in the community. This is a great way for them to be able to meet young people in our community, meet their families, really form impressions on them.”

During his short time in the twin cities, Pedon says the redbird faithful have already left an impression on him. “We have met so many wonderful people here,” he said. “It’s been awesome.”

He also said the message to his players along with the young hoopers was he wants “to build a program that’s the most committed in college to what we’re building. And that’s a choice.”