McDaniel College hosts a batch of sports camps throughout the summertime and the Green Terror Basketball Camp highlights one of the most jam-packed events on campus.
More than 100 boys, ranging from ages 7-17, were in attendance on Friday, finishing up the first of two week-long sessions. The second session takes place from July 30-Aug. 3.
Campers filled up both gymnasiums inside Gill Center, providing a boisterous atmosphere with non-stop basketball action throughout the day. Green Terror men’s basketball coach Kevin Curley spent most of his time in the main gym, providing support and coaching to players during games.
Entering his 12th season with the Green Terror, Curley has run the camp for the better part of a decade and said he was pleased with the effort shown among the groups this week.
“I think they’ve done a good job,” Curley said. “They’ve gone hard, listened and it’s been a good week of camp.”
Participants were paired by age groups: 7- and 8-year-olds, 9-10, 11-12, and 13-17. With a large spectrum of skill levels present, campers participated in shooting, passing and defensive drills.
The last day featured mostly competitive stations, followed by 5-on-5 games.
Campers spent the first four days starting at 9:30 a.m. and finishing around 5 p.m. Friday’s schedule ran until noon.
McDaniel guard Isaac Ray, who averaged 6.2 points for the Green Terror last season, was among the pool of returning players helping out Curley in the main gym. Ray said he was assigned with the youngest age group all week.
An expert now in his third year working the camp, Ray played many roles — coach, referee, and mentor.
“All the kids love you just because they look up to you,” said Ray, a rising senior. “They drain you but it’s just awesome because some of them come to games … they just love basketball, they love having fun.”
Basketball is an ever-changing sport and younger players have drawn influence from the likes of the NBA’s best sharpshooters such as Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.
The increased emphasis on shooting beyond the arc has trickled down to the youth level, and while still an important part of the game, it’s something Ray and others have tried to steer away from during their coaching this week.
“They definitely all like shooting 3s, which is kind of a bad thing because, I mean, at this age you need to be focused on fundamentals,” Ray said. “When I was growing up my dad didn’t let me shoot a 3-pointer until I was 13 because it ruins your shot … you’re forcing yourself to just throw it up there and not use the correct form.”
Conlan Cousins, an 8-year-old from Taneytown, said he had fun during the week. Cousins said he mirrors his game after NBA legend Michael Jordan, and it’s an inspiration that has been passed down through his family.
“My mom really liked Michael Jordan and she inspired me to like [him],” Cousins said.
Cousins and his fellow campers finished up the day with a game of knockout, an enjoyable moment among the many in attendance.
While much of the focus throughout the week centered around improving, Curley made sure to stress the camp’s main objective.