Bobby Madison basketball camp celebrates 10 years

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

COLUMBIANA – When the Bobby Madison basketball camp started 10 years ago, former Shelby County High School basketball player Bobby Madison was just looking for something to do during the summer when on a break from playing professionally overseas.

While he quickly came to the idea of the camp as a way to give back to his community, he had no clue what was in store for the camp over the next 10 years.

“When I started this 10 years ago, my thought was I just wanted to do something when I came home for the summer,” he said. “I originally thought we’d have maybe 30 or so kids show up to that first camp. It ended up being 150.”

Now it’s turned into one of the state’s largest camps hosted at Shelby County High School every year, and this season was a little more special than the rest, as Madison, his staff and his campers celebrated the 10-year anniversary.

“It is just incredible to see the smiles on kids faces,” Madison said. “To do this for 10 years and share my knowledge and love for the game with campers and other coaches has been special. It’s something I never want to end now and hopefully one of the kids here will carry this on when I can’t do it anymore.”

During the week long camp, sessions were split into two age groups with the younger campers going in the morning and the older campers going in the afternoon.

Each day, they went through stations to help with fundamentals and teamwork, which Madison says is his biggest lesson when teaching young players the game.

“I like to emphasize fundamentals,” he said. “If you have fundamentals at a young age, you’re set up well. I’m a stickler to shoot the ball the correct way, so we spend a lot of time on shooting the ball correctly. If they do the fundamentals correctly, that gives them a leg up when they are older and start doing their own things.

“We also want to build character and teamwork so they learn how to work well as a group.”

Each day, Madison and his staff helped teach the campers what it takes to succeed in each facet of the game, and with several great staff members leading the way, the kids were challenged.

“I feel like we have the best coaching staff anywhere in the state,” Madison said. “They want to give back to kids and make them better. They want to share everything basketball brought to them over the years.”

The staff includes his brother Tyler Madison, who played at UAB, current Shelby County coach Cedric Drake, Sasha Knighten, Lamus McCombs, Brandon McKinney, Ty Lawler and Destin Davis.

All have either played or coached at high levels of competition.

This year’s camp featured close to 140 campers with 96 in the morning session and close to 50 in the afternoon session, showing the continued success of the event.

Madison’s camp has also reached kids from Georgia and Maryland.

“We had some local kids come to the camp last year who have family members from Georgia and Maryland, so this year they convinced them to come down for the week to join them,” Madison said.

At the end of the week, the campers and staff celebrated everything they had accomplished throughout the week with a big party featuring food and inflatables, while Madison celebrated his 10-year anniversary.

“I wanted to reward the kids for their hard work and show them how much we appreciate them being here,” he said.

As for the future, there is no end in sight for the successful camp.

“I hope to keep the camp as long as possible,” Madison said. “It gives the community something to surround themselves with during the summer. It also gives me a reason to be in the gym sharing my love for the game.”