Basketball: Hooked on Hoops summer camp tackles offensive skill sets

Michael Hoy has been playing basketball for five years and he has one particular goal he wants to fulfil — play in the National Basketball League.

Hoy, 9, is a Cleveland Cavaliers fan and hopes to play for his favorite team one day. For now, he’ll focus on improving his offensive skills at Manchester Valley girls basketball coach Heather DeWees’s Hooked on Hoops summer camp, starting with driving to the basket.


“Sometimes when you’re standing, you can’t get past the player,” Hoy said. “I want to learn to go fast and get past a player really quickly.”

Campers sat silently on the end line of the former North Carroll High School gymnasium as DeWees explained to them the importance of playing a post position on the court.

The area near the basket below the foul line is called the “low post” and the player who guards that position does so with the intent to take advantage of a smaller defender. An offensive post player often uses his or her body to protect the ball from the defender, facing away from the basket.

“Today we’re working on posting up and getting their backs to the basket,” DeWees said. “That’s what I’m trying to encourage them, that it doesn’t matter how big or small you are, everybody has to be able to put their back to the basket. The game has shied away from posting up and kids are always trying to work the range and shoot outside shots but if you really look at some of our best players in the county, they can do both.

“That’s what I want them to be encouraged about doing is being able to go inside and out no matter what your size is.”

Campers were split into groups to practice post drills and could stay on offense if they scored. The losing group had to make the switch to defense and if rebounds were made, that camper was awarded two extra dribbles.

After the exercise, DeWees reminded the kids to “shoot outside and extend your range” from the post.

Josey Klingenberg, one of DeWees’s camp counselors, was an intern through the Hooked on Hoops camp as a rising ninth-grader. Interns generally go through a week of camp and shadow a counselor the following week. Klingenberg shadowed her sister Jayce, who played at Man Valley, and former Westminster basketball player Brooke Riley.

“They show you how to make sure the kids stay focused and make sure the kids know you’re the person in charge,” Klingenberg said. “Sometimes when you’re in that stage in between, you want to hang out with your friends, but you have to remember that you’re a counselor and shadowing helps because then you get to learn it before you have to fully apply it. Also, you’re going into high school so you get to work on your skills.”

Klingenberg has been involved in the camp for at least 10 years — she started as a camper at 4 years old and has been a counselor for three years, so far. The incoming Man Valley senior said there is always a positive environment surrounding the camp and it’s her favorite thing about being a part of its success.

“All the kids listen well and they want to learn, they want to be here, so I really like that,” Klingenberg said. “I also like helping them develop a strong bond with the sport that I was able to develop through the camp, through rec sports and all that. I have friends I’ve met from camp that are still my friends so I think that’s really cool.”