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RHS hosts summer basketball camp

RUSSELLVILLE — The wind, rain and lightning that hit Russellville Tuesday morning could not deter the summer basketball camp put on by Russellville High School head boys’ varsity coach Michael Smith.

After all, the second day of the camp had already started when the worst of the weather hit that morning.

“Camp has been going good so far,” Smith said. “We have a lot of our former players and present players helping us out working on both the girls’ and boys’ sides.

“We have something like 72 campers. We had a good day yesterday and so far we’re off to a good start today.”

Russellville High School coaches and past and present players partner with the Russellville Parks and Recreation Association each year to put on a summer basketball camp for young boys and girls in and around Russellville.

This year, thanks to the combined effort, campers will receive a T-shirt, basketball and two meals a day during the event.

The summer camp is hosted by Russellville High School at the middle school gym each year, and the focus is always the same.

“We’ve been covering basic fundamentals,” Smith said. “We’ve been going over layups, shooting, passing, dribbling, ball handling and then some team drills.

“The main thing is to get these kids out of the house and get them to do a little extra work. We also want the kids to have fun and meet some new people.”

There are several benefits for those participating in the camp. All of the kids get a healthy dose of physical activity during their time away from school, but for some campers, the benefits exceed just simple conditioning.

“It’s very big,” Smith said. “For the ones that will play at the middle school or high school level, we’re going over the basic drills that our teams run.

“When they come to tryouts they will already be familiar with what we are doing.

“Somebody who attends camp will have an advantage over somebody who didn’t, especially when you are playing within our system.”

The youth who participate are not the only ones receiving benefits during the camp. As a head coach at Russellville, given enough time it is likely that Coach Smith will see some of these youngsters again, except as junior varsity and varsity players, not just kids in a summer camp.

“That’s a good thing about running the camp,” he said. “You get a chance to be around the kids and meet them at an early age.

“The big thing is they get a chance to get some of our basic drills down, and then they will be more relaxed with it going forward.”

Some of the participants will continue to play competitive basketball as they grow older and some will not, but there are benefits for everyone that come out to the Russellville summer camp.

“Hopefully the kids learn that you can have fun and put in hard work at the same time,” Smith said.

“You cannot forget the basics, because good fundamentals build the foundation for the other parts of your game.

“If you build your foundation, you should have some good success following that.”