Turnout high at FDA, Georgiana hoops camps

Published 3:09 pm Friday, June 8, 2012

In an era where video games and television rule the summers of most youth, two Butler County basketball coaches are doing all they can to keep local kids active.

Fort Dale Academy head coach Reggie Mantooth and Georgiana School head coach Kirk Norris started basketball camps Monday, and they both acknowledged the difficult task of encouraging participation.

Mantooth noted that there has been an impressive turnout for the Fort Dale Academy camp this year and credits it mostly to how long his camp has been around, and the resultant reputation it has built in the community.

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“This is the 19th year of our camp, so I think the community knows about it and looks forward to it each summer,” Mantooth said.

Since the camp is open to such a wide range of ages (6-18), it was divided into two groups. Despite the division, Mantooth has emphasized the same elements of the game with both groups, although to varying degrees.

“We spend a lot of time on ball handling, shooting and layups for younger kids,” Mantooth said. “We drill those same fundamentals for the older kids as well, but also try to teach them how to get open without the ball, offensive moves and why you do certain things.”

Norris has been extremely pleased with the number of kids that have shown interest in his Georgiana camp.

“Most of the kids that have been at camp are returning campers and have been coming every year,” Norris said.

“They have seen the benefits of coming to camp and learning the game, and they can see the improvements in their overall game.”

When asked about which part of the camp kids seemed to be having the most fun with, Norris found it difficult to choose.

“I think the kids have enjoyed all aspects of our camp, including the fundamental stations and competition games,” he said. “But I would have to say that this year’s group has enjoyed the 5-on-5 competition the most.”

He credited upperclassmen on the varsity and B teams for encouraging parents and younger students to come to camp every year.

Norris also thanked BankTrust for sponsoring the camp for the fifth consecutive year as well as several former players, including Jerrod Lee, who now plays collegiate basketball at Huntington College, Kaleb Hamrac and Keon Binion, members of the 2012 Final Four team, and current Georgiana basketball student assistant Matt Campbell for assisting with the camp.