It’s all about the little Vikings when it comes to Puyallup High’s youth basketball camp held last week inside the school’s gym.
Under the watchful eye of the Puyallup coaching staff — the Vikings’ varsity players — local youth came out to learn and play some lighthearted pickup games, all the while gearing up the future of Puyallup basketball.
“It’s about the little Viks,” Nathaniel Holcomb said. “We want to get them to love this game, and to love the purple and gold.”
A passion for a team can begin at any age.
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“I think it’s a great way for the high school players to spend time with the younger kids in the community that come out and watch our games,” Puyallup coach Scott Campbell said. “They’re (the players) the ones that coach the teams, so they build relationships with the younger guys.”
On Thursday afternoon, it was the older age group of the Puyallup basketball camp playing competitive games. Every now and then a big play would be made, inciting cheers from the coaches, and if the play was too physical, calls would be made accordingly — even if it went against a coach’s own team.
“I’m just out here to get the kids to play hard and teach them a little bit,” said Elijah Seybold, one of the Vikings players referring one of the games. “I just want to help them be more successful and be better players.”
Many of the coaches came through one of these Puyallup basketball camps, so coming out early in the summer was paying tribute to many of those who came before them. It was a way to give back to a time they held close during these summer days.
“I looked up to many of the elder players when I came to these camps,” Brennon Winter said. “I enjoyed it when I came, and I want to help these (campers) enjoy their time here.”
But not all of the Vikings had the chance of going through these camps, gaining a connection to the program and those around who also attended camp.
For Seybold, the benefits of what these camps offer go far beyond the court.
“I wish I would have done a lot more basketball activities. I never did any camps or anything,” Seybold said. “I think it would have helped me a lot more.”
One of the biggest lessons these coaches learned is part of the goal Campbell set out for his players at the start of camp. It’s about an appreciation for all aspects of the game.
“Coaching is so much harder than it looks,” Holcomb said. “Seeing how hard it is here helps us appreciate what the coaches do for our team.”
Holcomb’s words were echoed by many of the players walking around guiding campers in their games. It’s a sign that their learning what it takes to make a basketball team.