Sam West to host annual basketball camp Tuesday

Published 9:02 am Friday, May 25, 2007

Alcorn State University men’s head basketball coach Sam West will host the 15th annual Miss-Lou boys and girls basketball camp starting Tuesday at Martin’s gym in Natchez and will run through Friday, June 1.

The four-day event is the oldest camp in the Natchez area, and was started by West after some encouragement from Duncan Park tennis director Henry Harris.

“It has been good every year. It’s hard work inside a gym, but it has always been good,” West said.

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He said the goal of the camp is not only to teach young players the fundamentals of basketball, but also to have an impact on their lives.

“It’s fun and it is fundamentally sound. We bring speakers in from Natchez and the surrounding areas to share and give short pep talks to motivate the kids,” West said. “We try to change their lives.”

West jokingly said the camp is also a good four-hour babysitting service.

“We know this because parents have continued to send their kids to this camp year after year.”

The camp is open to boys and girls ages 5 through the eighth grade. West said a camper’s age would not affect the quality of instruction he or she will receive.

“Everybody here is equal. We give each person the same opportunity to engage the fundamentals of basketball, and we do that the best way we know how,” he said.

From the fundamentals of basketball, West said he hopes his campers take away two important things from his camp. The biggest being discipline.

“The most fundamental thing of all sports is discipline, and they will take that with them long after they have completed the camp. Secondly they will leave knowing that we care about them, and that is why we are out her doing this,” he said.

On average the camp draws 50-70 children and youth each year, but this year West said he expects over 100 campers. Camp enrollment reached an all-time high five years ago when 110 children took part in the basketball camp.

West said attendance numbers have dropped in the recent years due to the emergence of more basketball camps in the Natchez area, but he insisted that his is still the oldest.

The cost of the camp is $50, and registration for the boys’ camp will last from 7:15- 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, and registration for the girls’ camp will last from 12:15-1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. The camp for both boys and girls will begin after each registration.

The boys’ camp will run from 8 a.m. – noon, while the girls’ camp will go from 1- 4 p.m.

T-shirts, drinks and snacks are included with the camp’s fee.

For more information contact Samuel West at 601-807-6464 or at 601-924-3356.