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Experiencing the joy of hoops

For the sixth straight year, young people in the area were granted the opportunity to gain hoops knowledge, grow as players and experience the joy of the game at the Prince Edward County Basketball Camp, sponsored by the Farmville Recreation Department.

“It was outstanding,” said James Scott, head varsity boys basketball coach at Prince Edward County High School. “The kids learned a lot. They were very excited about it. (We) had a lot of feedback from the parents. They were excited about it. And we had returning players as well — campers — and you know that helps a lot.”

Held at Prince Edward County Middle School, the camp ran Monday-Wednesday with 9 a.m.-noon sessions each day, and it featured 30 participants this year, ranging from 6-year-olds to rising eighth-graders. Most of them were from Prince Edward County.

In a press release, Co-Camp Directors John Pruitt and Scott stressed that community and youth involvement is key to building the Prince Edward basketball program.

“We really feel the campers had a great experience this week,” they said in the release. “This is always a great week for the youth to be exposed to our program.”

Scott noted that through various stations, campers were drilled and taught about dribbling, passing, rebounding, agility and free throws, as well as game theory and knowledge of the game.

He said rules, regulations and guidelines of the sport were reviewed to make sure campers knew the game itself.

“After we’d do our stations, we would play five-on-five each day,” Scott said.

On Tuesday, George Lancaster visited the camp as a special guest speaker. He was a two-time state champion head coach of the Highland Springs High School varsity boys basketball team. He serves now as the head varsity girls basketball coach at Bluestone High School.

“He’s my mentor,” Scott said. “When he was at Highland Springs, we used to go there and scrimmage them … I knew that he could bring a little bit more excitement to the camp itself.”

Intended to be a fulfilling opportunity for campers, the camp also provides fulfillment for Scott.

“I enjoy most to see the excitement on the campers’ face(s) when they excel to a different level, when they’d be participating, and they’d get it right,” he said. “… The joy on their face is really nice.”

Thinking ahead to next year, he said there is the possibility the camp will expand to a week of half-day sessions, with more time given to playing five-on-five games.

In the press release, Pruitt and Scott made a point to thank the camp’s variety of sponsors.