Lady Dawg basketball holds summer camp
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Lady Dawg Basketball Summer Camps, where girls learned the basics of basketball and practiced their skills, finished up Wednesday afternoon.
Aspiring basketball players in grades 9 and under had the opportunity to learn the basics of basketball under the guidance of newly hired Lady Dawgs Basketball Head Coach Derik Short and his fellow coaches Rasheed Abddeen, Brittani Houle, Travis Sanders and Gladybel Cabrera.
Short, who has 26 years of experience as a coach, said that turnout for the Lady Dawg Basketball summer camp was fairly small, with five participants in the younger group (grades 5 and under) and four participants in the older group (grades 6 through 9). He explained that he put the camp together with only 10 days to publicize it due to just moving to the area.
“It’s been really hectic for me just from the standpoint of as soon as I got here, we’ve jumped in to [doing] skills, and we do strength and conditioning in the mornings, and then this week, we’ve been doing a camp in the afternoon,” Short said. “My favorite part of the camp is the little ones because the little ones are so funny and fun to work with. They just love doing whatever you give them to do.”
Short added that the ones who came to the younger age group camp did a good job with their skills and surprised him.
“I mean, each day, the stuff we had learned the day before, they picked up on it, and so you can see them,” Short said. “The thing I love most about camp is even in four days, you can see them grow. You can see the changes they’ve made, and so that’s fun to see, especially with the little ones.”
Short said that having the camps was important to him and served as a way to connect with the kids.
“I didn’t want to sit around and not have any connection with the kids all summer,” Short said. “The most important thing to me was I want kids to know who I am, and so being here at strength and conditioning and being here at the skills part that we do earlier, just doing a little camp, it just gives me a chance to…everybody get to visit with me and meet me. I didn’t want them coming into the fall not knowing, ‘Who’s this new guy? What’s he gonna be like?’ So, that’s been the best part for me is just getting to know the kids a little bit and get getting a taste of the community a little bit.”
During the camps, Short said they focused on four main areas: how to handle the ball, how to pass the ball, how to shoot the ball and defense.
“I always start with really basic stuff, simple stuff: can you dribble with your right hand down the court and with your left hand back, and then you start just progressively increasing the difficulty of the skill that you’ve taught them,” Short said. “Each day, we try to progress by giving them a little bit of a challenge, something we haven’t done before, and by the end of the week, you’ve got little kids who barely could dribble left and right hand by themselves are dribbling two basketballs at the same time.”
He added that teaching the fundamentals of basketball is key to how they will be able to play the game.
Jadelyn Mays, 13, will be going into eighth grade in the fall. She said she liked the camp because it gave her a chance to practice those fundamentals Short was talking about and put in the work. Mays has been playing basketball since she was 6-years-old, she said.
“It really just gives me like a chance to just let loose, be yourself on the court,” Mays said.
Alena Wright, 13, will also be going into eighth grade in the fall. She said she thought the camp was fun so far. She said she signed up for the camp because she wanted to get better at basketball and needed something to do.
She was really trying to improve her skills at dribbling behind her back and between her legs. She said she plans on playing basketball at her school.
Short grew up in Dallas, graduating from Allen High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and his master’s degree from Texas A&M University- Commerce. His first ever coaching job was in Clifton, Texas, before he transferred to Mesquite High School, where he was the freshman coach. He then transferred to Allen High School to be the Varsity Assistant Coach. For approximately 10 years after, Short was a licensed counselor and worked with patients in hospitals and outpatient facilities.
He went back to coaching for Allen High School for another four years before becoming the Head Coach in Red Oak. After one year, he transferred to Naaman Forest High School in Garland, where he spent 14 years as the Head Coach. During his time there, the team won four district championships and six bi-district championships, went to two regional tournaments, and they were the first to make it to the Final Four of any Garland ISD school, Short said.
“That’s kind of my, when I think of home as a head coach, it’s Naaman Forest,” Short said.
Short said that he decided he wanted to do something different, after his children and his wife’s children had grown up and left the house, so they moved to the Panhandle for one year, before looking for a job in the Hill Country and finding the opening at Copperas Cove High School.
“When I was at Naaman Forest, the year after the Final Four, we played Copperas Cove in the regional quarterfinals in Waco [in 2009],” Short said. “We beat them 56 to 51, and that’s my memory of Copperas Cove is having played them, and I remember how athletic they were, how much speed they were, how fast they were, and so when I started looking for a job and I saw the job open, I said, ‘I’d love to go coach those kind of kids.’ The kids here are the kind of kids I had at Naman- athletic, fast.”
Short added that he was excited to see what Athletic Director Cari Lowery has in store for the CCISD Athletics.