“It’s always promising:” Calera sees good turnout for 2023 youth basketball camp

Published 9:34 am Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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By SCOTT MIMS | Special to the Reporter

CALERA – Calera basketball coach George Drake remembers his days attending basketball camp, where he was first introduced to the game he fell in love with—and as a Calera native, continuing that tradition was important to him.

“It was fun,” Drake recalled. “Those kids come out year to year. Once I took the job, I knew that I wanted to continue that. It’s good for the community and good for the kids to have that introduction while learning the fundamentals of the game.”

This year’s camp was held Monday through Thursday, June 12-15. The event is a youth camp for boys and girls in kindergarten through sixth grade, and is held at Calera High School. The high school coaches and basketball players in the program assist and supervise the students while they demonstrate drills and skills.

“Ball handling is always big, skill development, shooting defense,” Drake said. “We have several contests including knock-out, free throw contests, and hot shot shooting contests where individuals can win.”

Campers always look forward to Championship Thursday, which is announced throughout the camp. It is a day for the kids to show off what they have worked on all week, and they are able to compete to win a five-on-five contest.

Participants are divided up into three leagues for the 5-on-5 championships based on age group—SEC (ages 5-7), ACC (ages 8-9) and NBA (ages 10-12).

It added a competitive portion to the camp to build off of the fundamentals learned throughout the week.

In addition to the fun the young kids had at the camp, one of Drake’s favorite parts was seeing the current players on his team get to interact with the future. It’s a fun part of the camp that allows the student athletes to build leadership roles while also realizing how much the younger kids look up to them in hopes of one day taking the court as a Calera Eagle.

“Every year we have a pretty good turnout, so you know when you see 15, 20 to 25 kids that can really handle the ball and shoot it, even if they are really young, third or fourth graders, it’s always promising,” Drake said. “The future’s always bright at Calera.”

Last year’s camp was the largest the school had ever put on, and this year’s built off of that with another successful year.