It was a bit of a change this summer for Scott Campbell and his Puyallup High basketball Viking Hoopsters Basketball Camp, as the event was the same but just with a different venue.
With Puyallup High undergoing some cosmetic maintenance in the gym, Campbell had to change things up with his camp this year. So camp was pushed back a month as the Vikings decided to invade a neighboring school, Aylen Junior High, for the three-day event.
“It’s been a great turnout as the kids have done a great job. The coaches have done a great job, and it’s been great experience,” Campbell said. “After doing it for a lot of years, you see some kids you know (either here or) through different basketball things. It’s fun to see how they’ve grown, and the young kids come in with so much more energy and excitement.”
It’s been a great turnout as the kids have done a great job. The coaches have done a great job, and it’s been great experience.
Puyallup basketball coach Scott Campbell
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Campbell’s Hoopsters camp reached a total of 85 participants last week.
As games roared on and battles on the court raged, the sight of kids from second through eighth grade filled the gym as action was split between morning and afternoon sessions.
“It’s definitely fun to coach (the young group) because they are more attentive. (They’re) always really excited when they come,” Myles Smith said. “Same with the older kids. But I guess the difference is that it might be the first time some of them played basketball.”
There was no need for coffee or energy drinks for the coaches as the first group brought enough to last an entire basketball season. And with that exuberance, Vikings players and campers came closer together. The event was meant to provide a bit of an outreach for a program with its community.
“(It’s been abouth) pretty much having fun and playing hard,” said Ryder, a Spinning Elementary student, about the lessons the kids learn from the Vikings Hoopsters Camp.
It doesn’t matter what team the player-coaches are on. Whether it’s varsity, JV or the C-team, these coaches have created fans for life.
It’s definitely fun to coach (the young group) because they are more attentive. (They’re) always really excited when they come.
They have created a bond that only those who wear the purple and gold understand.
“I think it’s fun to teach them basketball skills as well as off-the-court skills,” Darren Young said.
Far more often, these kids will play basketball, a simple game that connects so many. But it’s those lessons that the game doesn’t just stop after the buzzer blares through the gym. It’s that life is always moving forward, and teaching that has been an emphasis of these camps.
I went many of these (Puyallup) camps over the years. For me, when I was younger, I was inspired by many of these coaches. And now I’m a coach, I can inspire some of these kids, too.
“I went many of these (Puyallup) camps over the years,” Young said. “For me, when I was younger, I was inspired by many of these coaches. And now I’m a coach, I can inspire some of these kids, too.”
The afternoon practice had a different feeling that morning camps, as these were the kids who are one to two years away from reaching Puyallup High, so there was more focus on the game than in the morning practices. Here were the kids working on reaching that dream that Young had when he came to camp: become a Vikings Hoopster.
“The older kids have a little more experience, so it’s a little bit of a different coaching style,” Smith said.
No matter the style the player-coaches utilized at the camp, the results were the same. A packed gym full of smiles, and hopefully come November, ones whose voices will rip through the Vikings’ gym as they navigate through the season.