Sam West basketball camp begins Monday

Published 1:15 am Friday, May 22, 2009

NATCHEZ — Spending eight hours a day in a sweltering gymnasium with no air conditioning doesn’t sound like fun to a lot of people.

But Samuel West wouldn’t be anywhere else.

West, the former Alcorn State men’s basketball coach who is now the athletic director at McComb, will return to his hometown of Natchez next week to direct the 19th annual Miss-Lou boys and girls basketball camps at Martin Gymnasium.

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“It’s just a blessing to be able to come back to the no air-conditioned gym and spend eight hours a day, four straight days in there,” West said. “(Natchez) is where I got my start. It gave me a heck of a start in life. To be able to come home and do a camp, it’s the least I could do.

“We’re looking forward to having a large group and a lot of fun.”

The camp begins Monday and goes through Thursday. The boys camp will be from 8 a.m. to noon while the girls camp is from 1 to 4 p.m.

Registration is $50 per student, which includes drinks and snacks each day of the camp.

There will also be motivational speaker encouraging the kids as well, West said.

West said the key to his camp is teaching the student’s discipline, not only in basketball, but in life.

“This camp is a little different,” West said. “The kids don’t get as much playtime as other camps. It’s a drill oriented type of camp. Station to station, line to line, yes sir, no ma’am and thank you. It’s not just about fundamentals of basketball and sports but fundamentals of life.”

And West said each child, no matter the talent level, will be treated equally in his camp.

“I’ve had public school kids, private school kids, kids from Mississippi, kids from Louisiana, boys and girls with more talent and less talent,” West said. “We treat them all the same. It’s not just about winning.”

And perhaps that is the reason why many of the same kids keep coming back to West’s camp each year.

“I have some kids that come back year after year,” West said. “If you go back and retrace the state championships that have been won (by area schools), look back at the kids who have come through this camp. There is a correlation between fundamentals and championships.”

For more information about the camps, contact West at 601-924-3356 or 318-355-3973.