KINGMAN – Fall in love with basketball and have a good time.
Kingman High boys basketball coach Nick Juby strives for that goal during the four-day basketball camp he’s hosted the last two summers.
That was visibly apparent Thursday, as a number of children ran happily around the KHS gymnasium.
“Just getting these kids to have a love for basketball is huge for me,” Juby said. “I’ve always said, ‘I don’t care what school you go to when you get older, I just want you to love basketball.’ I remember growing up and going to basketball camp was some of my most favorite times.”
The campers definitely enjoyed themselves, especially considering a number of them walked up to offer Juby thanks. It isn’t a surprise though, as Juby witnessed vast improvement over a short period of time.
“It’s amazing in four days what you’ll see,” he said. “From the kid on Monday who maybe could kind of dribble a little bit to the fourth day Thursday, he’s doing all the dribbling drills we’re doing. You always tell them before you go, ‘Keep working on your game. Keep getting better. Live with a basketball in your hand because it’s a fun sport.’ I love it.”
Juby wasn’t the only one teaching fundamentals to the campers. A few Kingman High athletes were also out on the court joining in on the fun. Bulldog senior-to-be Tobias Bagby attended three days of camp and enjoyed helping the children get better at the game of basketball.
“They’ve been getting better,” Bagby said. “They’re learning mentally how the game goes. They didn’t really know how the game went, but they’re a little bit better at that now.”
One thing that Bagby might not have fully grasped is how much the campers look up to him. Juby, however, knows that eventually changes.
“I don’t think the high school kids really realize how big of an impact they have on these little kids until about the end of the week of camp,” Juby said. “Then they say, ‘Wow, that little kid really looks up to me.’ They love how excited the little kids get when they see them.”
Bagby did say that he would be “pretty motivated” if the campers attended one of his games next season.
“I’ll try to show up for them,” he said.
While this is only the second year of the camp, Juby said he would love to see an increase in numbers.
“If I could catch every kid in town, that would be great,” he said. “It’s probably not going to happen, but you’d love that.”
Juby will host the four-day camp next year during June. Cost is $40 and those interested can contact him for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to get some more out and I can spark that love of the game in some of the kids,” Juby said.