Madison camping with future stars

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Former SCHS basketball player Bobby Madison works with campers during the Bobby Madison All-Star Basketball Camp on June 21. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

COLUMBIANA — Bobby Madison is in a comfort zone when he steps on the court for his Clube Amigos do Basquete team in Madeira, Portugal against some of the best players across the globe.

Sharing the court with a bunch of future basketball stars in Shelby County? It’s a role he’s still getting accustomed to in the second year of his All-Star Basketball Camp, which began June 21 and wraps up June 24.

“At first, it’s a little overwhelming,” Madison admits.

Madison, who played at Southern Union Community College and Western Michigan University following a standout career at Shelby County High School, returned home to provide another opportunity to share his knowledge with local youth basketball players.

Madison’s camp has grown in its second year. After having approximately 130 youth campers a year ago, Madison said he had nearly 150 show up for the first day of his camp Tuesday.

“It’s very humbling,” Madison said. “For me to be out here with a lot of kids that grew up in the same community I did, it means a lot.”

Former SCHS basketball player Bobby Madison works with camper Jaison Swift, of Calera, during the Bobby Madison All-Star Basketball Camp on June 21. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Madison said he began planning for his second camp while rehabbing a knee injury during his professional season in Portugal. Organizing the camp for youngsters in Shelby County took months, Madison said.

“It takes a lot of time and effort,” Madison said. “It just doesn’t happen overnight.”

Madison was able to increase the number of camp counselors this summer. In addition to retiring Shelby County High School boys’ basketball coach Charles Dickinson and his younger brother Tyler Madison, a rising junior on the Wildcats’ team, Madison’s camp featured a number of current professional basketball players.

Former Calera High School girls’ basketball standout Shanavia Dowdell, who just wrapped up her first season playing professional basketball in France, returned as a camp counselor this year. Dowdell was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year during her collegiate playing career at Louisiana Tech University.

Two of Madison’s college teammates at Western Michigan, Mike Williams and Ben Reed, also served as camp counselors. Reed has been a part of six championship teams in Portugal and has been named the league’s most valuable player twice, Madison said.

Anna Barnett, a student assistant coach for the University of Montevallo women’s basketball team served as a camp counselor, along with former Cornerstone Christian School boys’ basketball coach Tim Bullard and former Calera High School standout Demarcus “Rusty” Dowdell. Dowdell just completed his sophomore season at Snead State Community College.

Madison said the campers were fortunate to learn from so many “great basketball minds.”

“When I was younger, we didn’t have this kind of opportunity,” Madison said. “It’s a good opportunity for them to grow as basketball players.”