The final hour of each day during McDaniel College's Green Terror Basketball Camp focuses on fun, and Thursday was no exception.
Close to 150 boys from ages 7-17 were divided into groups inside Gill Center, playing full-court games under the watch of current and former McDaniel athletes who serve as camp counselors. Kevin Curley, McDaniel's men's basketball coach and camp director, stood near the main court as some of the older campers competed.
The noise level inside Gill was high, a mixture of raised voices and the occasional shrill of a whistle. It sounded like summer to Curley and his charges.
"Obviously ... we want to teach some things to them," Curley said. "Hopefully they have some fun. You try to have a balance between having fun, competition, and teaching them stuff."
McDaniel's camp finishes its first of two week-long sessions Friday, and the second camp is scheduled for July 31-Aug. 4. The camp, which is a daytime event, gives basketball players different levels at which to compete. And they were competing hard before 4 p.m. Thursday — pick-up games galore inside Gill, with a younger bunch playing in the steamier old gym while most of the older campers had better air flow in the newer arena.
Camp counselors, most of them current McDaniel players, worked as referees and teachers at the same time. At times, campers were required to make multiple passes before someone took a shot. Trips down the court became tools used to hone technique and footwork.
The games had an entertainment level to them, but it wasn't fun for everyone — counselor Isaac Ray, one of Curley's players for the past two seasons, sported a boot on his left foot after suffering a broken bone earlier in the week.
(Curley said Ray, a 5-foot-11 guard, should be healthy in time for preseason practice later this year.)
Campers played several games within the last half hour or so of camp. During a break in the action, after two trips to the water fountain, 13-year-old Everett Costley of Westminster talked about why he enjoys being a veteran of the Green Terror camp.
"It's just having fun with my friends, and it's a chance to learn basketball," said Everett, who recently finished his seventh-grade year at West Middle School. "Just improve on the fundamentals, and try to work on the things I'm not as good [at]."
Everett said his main objective was to work on defense and his scoring on offense, primarily in the paint given his size and stature. It's hard to envision Everett modeling his game after his favorite player, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, but the avid basketball fan said his style is more comparable to Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh or New York Knicks forward/center Kristaps Porzingis.
"I've been playing around the rim my whole life," Everett said, "so it's expanding my game so I can shoot [jumpers] and can go off the dribble. So I'll become more versatile."
Curley would likely have cracked a big smile had he heard the personal goals Everett wanted to achieve during the week. The Terror coach grinned when asked about seeing a good number of returners to his summer camp, but the final moments of Thursday's session strayed from the drills and earlier routines.
Before the campers left with their parents or guardians for the day, Curley called a few volunteers out of a very eager crowd to perform in front of their friends and fellow campers.
Their mission? Dribble the length of the floor in six seconds or less and make a shot, be it a layup, jumper, or half-court heave. Prizes were at the ready for any winners, so there some happy campers heading out for the day.