Camper of the year – Calera’s George Drake returns from high profile hoops camps

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Keeping busy this summer hasn’t been difficult for Calera basketball player George Drake.

The off-season lag has been anything but for the junior prospect

regarded as one of the state’s top high school talents.

Drake has already participated in two high-profile camps featuring some of the best high school players in the nation.

Last weekend he returned home from the Nike All-America Camp in Indianapolis, just weeks after a trip to Richmond, Va. for the NBA Top 100 players camp.

Both gave Drake the chance to compete against top-notch talent.

&uot;What you do is you get to go and test your skills against the best in the country,&uot; said Robert Burdette, Drake’s high school coach.

The NBA Camp was held June 19-22 at Virginia Commonwealth University and featured 100 standout sophomores, juniors and seniors selected by recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons.

The Nike Camp featured 200 of the nation’s best and was held at the Olympic training facility at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

Burdette said Drake,

the 2A player of the year for the past two seasons, gained some valuable knowledge for his game, both on and off the court.

In addition to hoops contests, the Nike Camp also featured informational meetings, offering insight on issues such as dealing with sports agents.

&uot;Last night I talked briefly to him and he felt like he had a good week and that it was a good experience for him,&uot; Burdette said Monday.

Drake, used mostly in the forward position at Calera, averaged 24.5 points and seven rebounds per game last season. He shot 59 percent from the floor and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

Drake was named MVP of the Shelby County Tournament and led the Eagles to the 2A state championship game

for the third straight year.

At 6-foot-3, Drake played guard at the two prospect camps he attended this summer, where players commonly stand taller than 6-and-a-half feet and some even approach 7-feet.

&uot;You get to face guys with size and the people on your team are all 6-8, 6-9,&uot; Drake said. &uot;Being able to throw to a big guy on the post opened up some things for me playing guard.&uot;

Drake said he felt like he performed well at both camps and that each gave him some good experiences to draw from.

&uot;There’s no doubt George can play,&uot; Burdette said. &uot;But this was a chance for him to see maybe what parts of his game he needs to work on.

&uot;I know now you have to work on the little things,&uot; Drake said. &uot;It’s the little things you have to work on to make you stand out.&uot;

Drake will participate in this week’s AHSAA All-Star Sports Week this week as a member of the North basketball squad. The boys basketball game tips off at 8 p.m. tomorrow night at the AUM Arena