Young Warriors participate in West Point boys & girls basketball camp

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West Point Lady Warriors Head Coach John Welborn works with a group of young players at this week’s West Point Basketball Camp. (Sammy Confer/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. – Basketball season is still a few months away for local schools, but the summertime is always a great opportunity for players and teams to connect with the next generation of players and some of their biggest fans. That’s what was happening at West Point High School this week at the Warriors’ Boys and Girls Basketball Camp. Boys and girls from second grade to sixth grade were welcome to attend and learn firsthand from varsity players and coaches at West Point High School. The first day of camp began Monday morning and day three wrapped up Wednesday around lunchtime.

It’s been several years since West Point has hosted a basketball camp, so no one was quite sure what to expect this week, but Warriors Head Coach Mason Voce was happy to report a good turnout and a fun three days for everyone.

“It’s been really good. We haven’t had a camp in probably 10-15 years, so we didn’t really know what to expect,” Voce said. “But we’ve averaged about 40 kids all three days with about 20 girls and 20-25 boys, so it’s been a really good turnout.”

The main focus of this week’s camp was to instill basketball fundamentals in the young players that participated but Voce was also happy to see the current generation of Warrior players interacting and connecting with the next generation.

“We really wanted to go over a lot of the fundamental stuff. A lot of dribbling, a lot of basic passing, shooting with your elbow in and not having it out and really just going over the fundamentals,” Voce said. “But really the most important thing is just connecting our young kids with our older kids and building a basketball family because these kids are the future of our basketball program so if we want to be successful in 5A, we’ve got to pour into them, and our older kids were great in helping them with that, so it’s been a really great week.”

Lady Warriors Head Coach John Welborn went over some of the drills and techniques that he and the varsity players worked on with the younger group.

“We did ball handling, we worked on passing, we did a lot of defensive stuff, closeout drills, some competitive stuff like 3-on-3 and we did a lot of shooting,” Welborn said. “We just wanted to work on a lot of basic stuff that a lot of kids don’t really know, jump stops, pivots and things like that.”

Events like these obviously have a lot of benefits for the younger players who get the chance to practice with varsity players and coaches, but Welborn believes the camp does a lot of good for the older kids as well.

“This week has been good; I think the kids have really enjoyed it. Having all the older kids here has been great. They all kind of look up to them and we had the older kids demonstrating all the drills, so they paid attention to them because that’s who they look up to,” Welborn said. “They’ve been out three playing with them and playing games and stuff, so it’s been a good thing for both of them. It’s great for the older kids to get to interact with the smaller kids looking up to them.”

Voce is entering his first season as the varsity boys coach at West Point and has been preparing with his team throughout this summer, but he wants to help lay the foundation for future teams as well. This week’s camp has been about developing basketball skills and fundamentals but its also about building excitement for the program for years to come.

“Every kid that’s playing ball looks up to the high school kids. We gave them shirts that they’ll be able to wear to the games to come and support the guys and this week just really gave us a chance to connect the older guys with the young guys. It builds that family connection where you feel like you are part of the program and that’s what we want,” Voce said. “We want everyone to feel like they’re a part of the program. We’ve just tried to make it as energetic as possible, as fun as possible and want these kids to be what makes West Point special. West Point is homegrown kids so we’re going to invest in these kids and pour into them and hope we can do something special going forward.”

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