They shot hoops, ran drills and tried their hand at a little offense and defense, all in an attempt to improve their basketball skills and give Midway High girls and boys coaches an opportunity to get an upclose look at their future prospects.
It was all part of the summer Raider youth basketball camp, held for three days last week at Midway High School.
The brain child of Midway girls basketball coach Jennifer Honeycutt, the camp welcomes youngsters 8 years old and up, boys and girls, for a sports adventure that hones their skills and allows them to have some fun while doing it.
Boys basketball coach Leonard Henry said there were 26 young men on the court with him and his assistants each day.
“It was a great learning experience for them and for us,” Henry said Friday after the camp had ended. “It provides great opportunities for these young kids, teaching them the fundamentals of a game they already love.”
Henry said the youngsters were dedicated in that they had to get up each of the three days and be on the court by 8:30 a.m. Determined was another word he used frequently, suggesting that the young boys, like the girls participating in their own camp, worked hard and were intent on leaving the camp better than they arrived. And he called them dependable, saying that the fact that they showed up each day and worked hard proved their love of the game and their desire to be better players.
“This camp is vital to our basketball program,” Henry stressed. “The future is right there in that camp. We are cultivating them at an early age, helping them develop habits they’ve learned and, at the same time, breaking some of those habits.”
While many of the campers have played basketball at the recreation and middle school level, Henry said the camp offered them an opportunity to stretch their skills.
“I can’t emphasize enough how valuable I believe this camp is. It gives these youngsters a chance to see what basketball will be like at the high school level, and it gives us a chance to see what we have coming up. It’s certainly a win-win.”
What’s more, Henry likes the lessons it provides to members of his high school Raider team, many of whom volunteered as Henry’s assistants during the camp.
“This gives my players a chance to give back to the community,” Henry asserted. “Midway is a community school, and it is a school that is greatly supported by the community, academically and athletically.
“I believe my athletes need to give back, and this is a great way to do it,” Henry said.
He praised Honeycutt for developing the camp, saying she was the backbone and the mastermind.
“Really, she’s a hero,” Henry said of Honeycutt. “The camp is great, important and the credit of Jennifer.”