Statesboro coach Lee Hill kicked off his annual basketball camp Monday at the SHS gymnasium. The camp is conducted by Hill and a long list of friends and family willing to lend a helping hand. It consists of an 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. portion featuring second through fifth graders and a 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. portion featuring sixth through ninth graders.
The main focus of the camp is to develop talent at an early age and to stress the importance of teamwork.
“We try to teach the kids the fundamentals of the game and to get better,” said Hill. “We preach ball handling and passing, and we especially stress team-ball — making the extra pass — and team work.”
The two different age groups each do the same daily routines. Coach Lee breaks the camps into six different stations and divides the players into six different groups; each rotates amongst all six stations.
The stations are made up of basketball skill drills that include ball handling, dribbling, lay ups, passing, free throws, rebounding and defensive positioning. The last half-hour of the camp, the players are broken down into teams of five and rotate playing 5-on-5 games.
As with many of the local summer youth camps, teaching fundamentals and having fun may be priority No. 1, but it is certainly not the only priority.
Part of the benefit of holding these summer camps is that they give the local coaches an opportunity to observe the local talent at an early age.
Hill said, “Yes, it is kind of a feeder system. We get to see kids who can play, have fun and love it. Many of my former and current players went to this camp when they were young.”
Hill has been conducting the camp for more than 25 years.
He said he has given thought to quitting the camp but can’t bring himself to do it.
“I almost stopped doing the camp a few times, but I look around and see the kids enjoy it,” said Hill. “I enjoy it too, so I’m not going to quit yet.”
Hill stressed the importance of help from the parents and friends.
“It is very important for the kids to have this camp. I can help them become better players and they can come out and see what we’re all about too. I really appreciate the parents, too. It is a group effort,” said Hill.