During each of the five days, kids entering grades 3-10 sharpened their skills as far as shooting, dribbling, conditioning, cutting to the basket, posting up and defense at stations monitored by former players, current players and coaches.
“The reason we do stations and the individual improvement drills every single day is to make sure they improve over time,” camp director Chris Langley said. “What we say is that ‘if they can improve one percent every single day,’ although that is not a big percentage but over time you will be a lot better player. So that is what we want to leave these guys and their parents with.”
For nearly two hours each day, participants would shoot free-throw line jumpers at the shooting station, perform variations of crossovers at the dribbling station, including handling the basketball with one hand while catching a tennis ball in the other, and learn to post up properly at the post-position station.
“I just try to get kids to post up realistically,” Manny Adako said. “We work more on positioning and where you want to catch the ball rather than just what kind of moves you want to do because positioning makes your job a lot easier when trying to score.”
Reggie Anderson II ran a station where kids had to dribble around obstacles then finish strong at the basket.
“We are just trying to get them to focus on controlling the ball under pressure,” Anderson said. “In games, you may not always get a foul called but that shouldn’t stop you from making a layup. I give them a tap according to their age to get them used to seeing contact. So, if the referee doesn’t call a foul, they don’t get discouraged.”
Stephen Burns, who lives in Jonesboro, conducted one of the most critical stations — team defense.
“At this stage right now, a lot of kids are used to chasing the ball wherever it is passed,” he said. “Basically we are teaching them proper positioning, where to be. Make them understand that they are guarding one person on defense.”
The kids also played 5-on-5 games and 3-on-3 Cut Throat games during which communication on both sides of the ball, ball movement and cutting to the basket were highly encouraged.
"The idea is if you don't think on your feet then you and your team will be off the court," Langley said. "We put in a lot of different rules and make it a lot tougher than a regular game.
"But because you do that they start to talk on defense, talk on offense, call screens, make more passes and you can actually see the improvement in 5-on-5 because of the strict rules during 3-on-3," Langley said.