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June 27, 2013

Basketball camps display developing skills

Boys showcase their talent in CSU camp tournament


By Ronnie Holman

Boy's camp

The Cleveland State Men’s Basketball program not only performs on the floor but off the floor as well. The basketball team held its annual camp and tournament over the weekend of June 14 and 15. The camp provides high school-level basketball players the opportunity to compete against some of the top competition around the U.S. and Canada.
Donovon Barrett, coach of Columbus-area Westerville Central High School, thinks that, although the camp isn’t necessarily for coaches, it challenges their team building skills and gives the responsibility to coach their players against competition and playing styles they haven’t seen before.

“We like the tournament because it’s about two hourws away from home and allows us to see different styles and competition from what we’re used to,” Barrett said. “It takes some pressure off the kids from at home and it allows our kids to have some fun even on the bus ride and staying overnight.”

This tournament allows Cleveland State players to reach out to younger players and help with their skills. The Vikings’ players don’t play in the tournament, but are involved by being seen and being accessible to give advice to the players and maybe play a pick-up game with them.

CSU players were excited to be a part of the camp and watch younger talent evolve in the game of basketball. Junior Sebastian Douglas, a 6’4” guard on Cleveland State’s basketball team was very excited to watch the high school talent run up and down the floor and make great plays.

“I grew up in New York where there was harder competition but the same players all the time,” Douglas said. “This is good for these kids because they get to open their variety and play more people, more schools, and they get a different look at playing styles.”

For Viking team members the variety of players at the camp provides an opportunity in mentoring.

“We are reaching out to the younger kids and making sure they play hard every time,” Douglas said. “We pride ourselves on defense. Hopefully they see that when we are playing with them and they can pick up some pointers from us and use that to help their game.”

This was Lutheran West High School’s third year in the tournament and they like that they compete against Division I schools, since they are a Division III school. Peter Koza, a senior at Lutheran West, likes the tough competition and battling different teams from out of state.

“Getting the opportunity to play against Division I teams translates over to our season because we aren’t intimidated or scared and we feel like we can compete with anyone in our division,” Koza said. “This tournament builds good relationships with other schools from Cleveland that we haven’t seen before. When you sit in between games you get the chance to talk to kids from other teams and maybe catch up with a teammate that you may play AAU basketball with. “

But the players aren’t the only ones improving their skills in basketball. This camp is for licensed high school officials also. Referees come together just like the players to build on their refereeing knowledge and skills while working games. Referees enjoy coming to the camp every year because of the opportunity for them to continue to learn and be able to officiate some really good games. Chris Calendar, a four-year veteran referee out of Cleveland, has been a part of the camp for two years. He explained that referees are fans of basketball too, and they really enjoy watching young athletes excel.

“The talent level for this tournament is pretty equal, so it is really exciting to have the opportunity to officiate some really good games,” Calendar said. “I think the kids showcasing their talent in front of college scouts is a great thing and great for everyone involved.”

The referee camp is run by Ken Rockhold, assistant Commissioner and Basketball Assigner for the Northeastern Ohio Conference and Southwestern Conference. This is the sixth annual referee camp in conjunction with the basketball camp. At the end of the day both players and referees use the skill that they’ve gained from participating in this camp.

“Most officials come to the camp because of the good reputation. Even though the camp has my name on it, I’m not the one that does the work,” Rockhold said. “We have the top high school and college officials in the area act as clinicians to tell the officials the little things to improve.

The referees benefit from the camp as much as the players. Player games may evolve and referees progress to a higher level of officiating.

“We have three officials that started off in this camp and now in six years they have already become college level officials or state tournament officials and it’s all basically because of this camp,” Rockhold said.

Teams sat around waiting to play their next game anxiously. Once the teams touched the floor, you can see the built up energy as they fly up and down the floor.

“The only negative of the tournament is the time between games,” Koza said. “There are so many teams and so much competition, we just want to play.”

The end of the camp story on the print was left out but it is here on the online version.