Alcorn head coach drills hoops hopefuls

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 2, 2006

LORMAN &8212; Several weeks ago, Alcorn State head basketball coach Sam West said his camp would be like a &8220;basketball boot camp&8221;.

The camp was held this week &8212; with festivities ending Wednesday morning &8212; and, if anything, the faces and walks of the campers proved him right.

Fatigue, soreness and even a few limps were evident as players hit the floor to watch awards presentations following the end of the final day&8217;s activities.

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Unfortunately, boot camp wasn&8217;t quite over yet.

&8220;Guys, thanks for coming here,&8221; West told the assembled players. &8220;We had a great time and I hope you guys did too.

&8220;Sit up!&8221; West shouted at a camper who had laid down on the basketball floor in the Whitney Complex gym. &8220;This camp ain&8217;t over yet! I want y&8217;all to do things right all the time. Not some of the time.&8221;

West later said the hard practices have a purpose.

&8220;We work them hard,&8221; West said. &8220;I try to treat them like they&8217;re my own players. We work them extremely hard because I want them to learn.&8221;

Following the scolding, West handed out trophies and awards to several campers.

Alcorn assistant Jason Cable, who served as camp director, said he was pleased with the results of the week.

&8220;We had a good turnout,&8221; he said. &8220;We had to change the date and that hurt us. I think the kids got a lot out of it &8212; almost to the point of exhaustion. They worked hard all week, and not only that, they maintained their enthusiasm.&8221;

West agreed with Cable.

&8220;We had a great week,&8221; West said. &8220;The kids worked hard and had a great attitude. We had them come in from all over the state. If we could&8217;ve gotten more kids from Natchez it would&8217;ve been great.&8221;

Fifty basketball players &8212; mostly of high school age &8212; went through the grueling practices for four days, and West said he wants more.

&8220;We&8217;re trying to get 70,&8221; he said. &8220;We&8217;ve grown each year, but we&8217;d really like to get there. If we can get some more people from the Natchez area, I think we can get there. It&8217;s about 10 more people than we can hold, but I think it will make for the best possible camp.&8221;

For any college coach, basketball camps are a way to get an up-close-and-personal look at recruits. The Sam West Basketball Camp is no different.

&8220;There&8217;s two kids out here that I&8217;m going to be watching this year,&8221; West said.

&8220;We&8217;ve got six kids here that the staff is definitely to be looking at all year,&8221; said Cable.

Another part of running a camp is to get people excited about the program, and West said that is something he is still working on.

&8220;We had a lot of kids here from all over,&8221; he said. &8220;But I really want to get kids from around this area who know Alcorn basketball and know it&8217;s traditions. That&8217;s why I want more Natchez kids. We&8217;re really looking to serve our direct area more.&8221;

With the basketball camp now finished, West is staring his golf tournament, which will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at Duncan Park Golf Course.

With a week chock-full of events, West had only one thing on his mind for after it is finished.

&8220;I&8217;m going to take a two-week vacation,&8221; he said.