West to return home to school future local hoops stars

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Turns out you can come back home again &8212; at least for a while.

Jarrod West, a former Cathedral High and University of West Virginia basketball star, will be bringing his knowledge of the game back home to Natchez for a basketball clinic.

The Jarrod West Basketball Clinic will take place from July 31 until Aug. 2 at the old Martin High School gymnasium.

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West said he had a specific reason he called the event a clinic.

&8220;It&8217;s not a conventional basketball camp,&8221; he said. &8220;I call it a clinic. Our classes are only a little over an hour, with small classes. We go from 9-10:15 (a.m.), 10:30-11:45, and so on. We try to get four groups each day for four days and split up according to age. You can learn so much from playing basketball, and I just want to pass knowledge on to younger kids growing up.&8221;

West now makes his home in his native West Virginia, where he is somewhat of a folk hero after hitting a buzzer-beating three to send the Mountaineers to the Sweet 16 in his senior season, 1998.

He said his trips home gave him the inspiration to bring his clinic to the Miss-Lou.

&8220;I&8217;ve been coming home pretty much every summer (for extended periods of time),&8221; West said. &8220;I do clinics and work with kids on basketball all the time here at home. It&8217;s pretty much my job now, so I figured why not try to branch out? Mississippi has always been a place with a lot of talent. I figured since I was going to be down there, I might as well do something like this. It&8217;s not really work for me.&8221;

Passing, dribbling, shooting and defensive drills are listed as the top priorities of West&8217;s camp, but he said he has only one.

&8220;Being a point guard, I think ball-handling is the most important skill for a player,&8221; he said. &8220;We&8217;re going to work on ball-handling, the proper way to shoot, passing and we&8217;re going to emphasize running the floor. The last 15 minutes I normally let them scrimmage, because it&8217;s important to see them apply this to game situations.&8221;

West said calling his mother would be the best way to register for the camp.

&8220;Call 601-442-3444 or 601-442-1001 and ask for Billie West,&8221; he said. &8220;I&8217;ll be around next week to work on getting people registered, too. We have classes for K-second grade, third-fourth, fifth-sixth and seventh-eighth. High school is also available. The cost is $45 and that includes a t-shirt.