Fri, Dec

Youngsters schooled at week-long camp


The best athletes in high school, college and beyond more often than not got their start at a young age.

Perhaps Camp Verde’s next standout hoopster was amongst the about 70 kids, ranging from second to eighth grade, who participated in the Camp Verde High School Boys and Girls Basketball Clinic from May 30, to Friday, June 2.

Each day of the camp ended with participants grouped together and given NBA team names for a small tournament. On May 31, the games were played three on three.
“It definitely does my heart good to see so many kids out here,” said Dan Wall, Camp Verde High School head boys basketball coach and camp organizer. “It’s good for the future.”

The majority of the participants were from Camp Verde or Rimrock, and every year since its start the camp has grown larger, this year’s being the biggest yet.

Each day the camp kicked off with the second to fifth graders from 8 to 10 a.m. Wall led the group portion of the sessions, at the beginning, before players from the Cowboys high school teams helped direct smaller group stations.

Every station focused on a different aspect of the game related to the day’s theme. On May 31 the focus was passing and dribbling, so drills involved things like dribbling around cones before shooting and passing while moving.

“When little kids learn fundamentals that is so important,” Wall said. “The skills they learn at a younger age are just so valuable to them as they move on in their basketball lives.”

Ending each session saw the team games, easily the campers’ favorite part of the day. On May 30 it was two-on-two, on May 31, three-on-three and so on.

From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. saw the sixth to eighth grade athletes, who would be put through the same drills and skills work as the group prior.

Awards for standout performers were handed out at the end of each day to reward players for their hard work as well as teamwork.

“I think it’s a lot of fun seeing these little kids working hard, and seeing that they want to get better at basketball,” said Ismael Hogan, a junior-to-be on the Cowboys basketball team. “I tell them to have fun while they’re doing it, because if they aren’t having fun, then what’s the point?”

But the camp was not reserved for the little ones. Rounding out the day from 1 to 3 p.m. were the high school players themselves who, just like many NBA teams, are also going through their summer workouts to get ready for the upcoming season.

“Spending a day of hoops out here four days in a row, it’s good,”
Wall said.

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