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Eye on the Ball

IBy TJ MAXWELL Cove Leader-Press Summer camps can be a good pportunity to introduce young ones to the respective sports and impart knowledge on those already participating for growth in the sport.  That’s the most important thing,” said Copperas Cove boys’ head basketball coach Billy White Jr. “Getting the kids at a young age interested in playing basketball and playing it the correct way. Basketball is a very skillful sport. The better your skills are, the better you’ll be as a basketball player. The younger you start that, the better you’re going to be.” However, the camps are also valuable tools for coaches to evaluate the talent pool coming up theranks. That evaluation can help  mold the program to highlight that particular class or group of classes for the best possible end result. Coach White knows the value of that glimpse into the future. He had the chance to do some evaluating this week during the annual Bulldawg Basketball Camp held at Bulldawg Gymnasium. “It allows us to know what classes we’re really going to be strong in and what classes we may have to maneuver and change some  f the things that we do. It’s great with that because it gives us a coupleof years to start preparing for what type of team – run and gun team or a zone team. What type of team we are going to be is depending on what type of athletes and players we are going to have. It does give us a great chance to see them young, know their abilities and watch them grow.”Recent success in the program has garnered more interest from the younger athletes that may have flocked towards other sports before. “We have 130 kids or so. It has been a blessing,” said White. “These kids come in really inter-ested in the game of basketball and how to play it the correct way. I’m awfully thankful for the parents bringing the kids in here and letting us teach them all this week.” Success of guys like now-Oklahoma Sooner Rashard Odomes and Northeastern State guard Montre Williams have boosted the numbers of the camps and those interested in the sport of basketball. Around 130 kids attended this year’s camp. When you get those  ypes of numbers, it also allows the coaches to find the needle in the haystack - special players like Robert Griffin III or Rashard Odomes. “That’s what happens,” said White. “We’re able to see those guys that definitely have the potential to be those types of players. Now, what they have to do – just like Rashard (Odomes) and Montre (Williams) – they can’t settle withthat. They have to continue to work, build their skill and work on their game. We definitely have some kids in that gym right now that - if they continue to work and do the things they need to do, stay on top of their grades in the classroom - have the potential to be special players.” The key to realizing your potential is to continually working to get better, says White. It’s not just about playing pick up games at the park, but about learning the fundamentals of the game as well. “I drive around Copperas Cove a lot and I see kids out in the streets playing basketball,” sa id White. “It’s great to see that as the boy’s basketball coach here, but it’s even better when we can show them and  teach them the correct way.Hopefully, when they’re out playing by themselves, they remember what we taught them this week.” For any kids that may not have had a chance to make it to one of his camps, coach White encourages you to come out next year.“They’re going to really enjoy this experience,” he said. “If not for anything else, you’re with your peers. We have a good time. We work hard, but we also have a lot of fun as well with the dunk contest and the money ball competition. We have a good mixture of hard work and fun. That’s how we try to run the Bulldawg basketball program as well. We’re going to come in and work hard, but we also have a good time. Basketball is a great, fun sport and I enjoy what I do and I enjoy being around the people I work with and the players. I’m going to have fun so I want you to have fun as well.” On top of instilling  proper fundamentals and techniques, White likes to  infuse fun into the mix as well. The camps concluded daily with a dunk contest  nd money ball competitions where players try to make the ball in the basket before the guy in front ofhim to eliminate him until one player remains. Jacob Moon, of Clovis New Mexico, won the eighth grade dunk contest on Wednesday afternoon and winners were crowned in each age bracket for the money ball prize. Former Bulldawgs Elijah Sobers, Montre Williams, Jordan Woodberry and Chance Smith were among this year’s player coaches.  

Copperas Cove Leader Press

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