Former Alcorn coach hosts basketball camp

Published 12:59 am Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NATCHEZ — Next week the sound of whistles blowing, sneakers sprinting up and down the hardwood and children laughing will be prevalent inside Martin’s Gym.

From May 27 through May 30, former Alcorn State head men’s basketball coach Samuel West will host the Miss-Lou boys and girls basketball camp.

Although the camp is intended for kids between first and eighth grade, it has been known to have a few participants that were even younger.

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“We even had a couple 5-year-olds last year,” West said with a chuckle.

At the camp the players will focus on the fundamentals of basketball — such as dribbling, shooting and passing, but will also hear speakers intended to motivate ranging from members of the police department and area coaches to players.

In the past, the number of players has ranged from around 120 to 45, but the number of participants hasn’t changed how West runs his camp.

“It doesn’t matter, we still work like there are 140 in the gym,” he said.

Henry Harris, current Cathedral football and tennis coach, said when he started the camp over 15 years ago he selected West to run it because of his success with developing talent in the area and his ability to bond with the players. He described West running up and down the court with the kids — participating as if he was a member of the camp himself.

Despite being removed from the position as Alcorn State’s basketball coach, West said he doesn’t see an end to the camp’s long tenure in Natchez anywhere in sight.

“As long as there’s a place to do it and the kids come, I’ll continue to do it,” West said. “I just look forward to the kids coming out and participating.”

The camp will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will cost $50.