HAMLET — Although this year’s group is one of the smallest in recent memory, Frank Harrington appreciates the fact that he’s been able to spend more one-on-one time with the campers throughout the week.
Instead of having to break down into different age groups, like things have been done in previous years, campers are learning the game’s fundamentals together — which, in turn, has created a more encouraging atmosphere.
“I’ve been having fun with it,” Harrington said. “With this group here, I got a chance to talk to all of them and they understand where I’m coming from. If they mess up, I try to say positive things to them … and everybody listens.”
Harrington’s 10th annual basketball skills camp began this past Monday, June 11, and ends on Friday, June 15. The five-day camp, for boys and girls ages 5-16, has been held at the Ninth-Grade Academy from 8 a.m. until noon every day.
The turnout wasn’t the same this time around, Harrington says, due to kids attending summer schools, needing to retake end-of-the-year tests, participating in other camps around the county and being out sick.
Despite the numbers, the intensity was high during Thursday’s activities. After going through a number of defensive drills, campers ended the day with a “Gold vs. Green” scrimmage. They started with a brief, half-court game to warm up and then went the full length of the court for a game that ended with the Gold team reaching 15 points first to earn the victory.
“One thing about these kids is they love the game. You can tell when they’re competing because they start going at each other,” Harrington said. “They want to do their best and I just try my best to help them out.”
On Friday, there will be free-throw and hot-shot competitions, awards (Most Valuable Player, Most Improved Player, Coaches Award) and certificates will be handed out, and every camper will receive a free T-shirt.
The takeaway from the camp, Harrington says, should be that campers understand how fundamentals will take them a long way in their basketball journey, and that they should “always play together as a team.”
Because without his team, Harrington — an assistant coach for the Richmond varsity boys basketball team — wouldn’t be able to put together the camp year after year. His wife Nellie (Richmond varsity girls assistant), Tony Terry (Richmond JV boys assistant) and Gerald Ratliff have been right by his side every step of the way.
“Check out LeBron (James), he couldn’t beat the Golden State Warriors by himself,” he said. “If everybody works together and is on the same page, you get a positive result. One man can’t do it. It takes a team.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.