Archive for Thursday, July 8, 2010

KU stars highlight Ballard’s basketball camp

Kansas University star freshman Josh Selby, right, watches his team compete in a shooting competition Friday morning at the Baker University basketball camp. Selby and KU senior Tyrel Reed came down from Lawrence to help first-year Baker University coach Brett Ballard, who is the former director of basketball operations at KU. The KU players were a hit with the campers.

Kansas University star freshman Josh Selby, right, watches his team compete in a shooting competition Friday morning at the Baker University basketball camp. Selby and KU senior Tyrel Reed came down from Lawrence to help first-year Baker University coach Brett Ballard, who is the former director of basketball operations at KU. The KU players were a hit with the campers.

July 8, 2010

First-year Baker University men’s basketball coach Brett Ballard made a splash with his inaugural summer youth camp last week at the Collins Center.

After two days of working on fundamentals and drills, campers were greeted with the presence of two Kansas University men’s basketball players Friday. Tyrel Reed and Josh Selby helped the approximately 60 campers during the morning and afternoon sessions.

Reed and Selby, along with Baker basketball players, worked with the campers, who will be entering grades second through 12th. They also competed against the campers in dribbling drills, as well as coaching several players during a shooting competition at the end of camp.

“It’s really great to have those guys come down here for a day,” Ballard said. “Obviously, the KU guys are pretty recognizable. I really appreciate those guys taking the time to come over here and be a part of this camp.

“Kansas basketball is big in this area and we’re trying to make Baker basketball big,” he said. “We’ll never be as big as Kansas basketball, but that’s OK. It’s cool that these guys came over. I know the kids had a great time interacting with them.”

Reed and Selby enjoyed the day at Baker University with the area basketball campers. Reed is a Burlington senior, while Selby, who came from Baltimore, is one of the top incoming freshmen in the country.

“He notified me earlier this summer and told me he wanted me to come down and work his camp,” Reed said. “I just jumped at the opportunity. It’s similar, but a little different, from the way he (Ballard) ran the KU camp. I love the way he’s so enthusiastic and he’s great with the kids. He makes it fun.”

Although the campers enjoyed their time on the court with the KU players, the best part of the Baker three-day camp might have been at the end. Reed and Selby stayed at the gym to sign autographs and take photographs with the campers.

“I had a great learning experience,” Emma Grossner said. “I learned good fundamentals and coach Ballard brought in good coaches to teach us. The KU players were great. They helped us a lot and they made it fun. It was a lot of fun being on coach Selby’s team. They signed my basketball and it’s in my room now.”

While the KU players were the highlight of Ballard’s first-ever camp as the Wildcats’ head coach, he was happy with the camp as a whole.

“It was great,” Ballard said. “It was an awesome three days of camp. The kids were a lot of fun to work with all week. The main thing is to have fun and make sure the kids enjoy the experience. For the most part, everything went great and we had a really good time.

“I was happy with the turnout,” he said. “You never know how many are going to come that first year of camp. The coach is new and it’s a new situation for everybody. The turnout was awesome and I hope it continues to grow. Hopefully, the word will spread and we have even more kids next summer.”

The camp was separated into two sessions, which each lasted 2.5 hours. The morning session was held for campers entering second through sixth grades, while the afternoon session was for campers entering seventh through 12th grades. The emphasis of the camp was on ball handling, shooting, passing, individual offense, defense and footwork.

“We mainly just worked on fundamentals,” Ballard said. “It was the basic stuff, like dribbling, passing and shooting. It’s important to teach kids the fundamentals of the game and to play the game the right way. That’s the main thing we did, but we played a lot of games and had some competitions. Overall, it was a lot of fundamental basketball drills and games.”

The main goal of the camp was to improve players’ basketball skills. Ballard also said he hopes it also attracts fans to the Wildcats’ team and upcoming season.

“This is a good way to get the word out about Baker basketball,” said the first-year coach. “Hopefully, these kids will come to the games now. We’re trying to build this, so we want people to come check us out this winter. We want people to come be a part of Baker basketball.”

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