While showing area youth a good time is always the primary goal of any camp, Brunswick High boys basketball coach Chris Turner has proven time and time again that having fun and learning fundamental skills are not mutually exclusive.
Following a one-year hiatus, the Brunswick Basketball Basics: Camp for Champs returned for its 12th annual edition this week. By time the four-day crash course came to an end Thursday, it was clear there is a lot to be excited about among the next generation of area hoopers.
“For me, camp is rejuvenating,” Turner said. “I look forward to it because I love the excitement the kids bring. I love to try to teach fundamentals to kids who really want to learn.
“I look forward to it because I also want to see the young crop — what we’ve got in this area, what may be coming. I was really excited to see some of these young players.”
Basketball players from grades 3-12 proved to take the lessons to heart over the course of the week, and they let their new found skills to the test in a handful of games to close the final day.
After days of drill work, it was rewarding for Turner to watch campers making use of their fundamentals, even during a pick-up game atmosphere.
“You want the kids to learn the fundamentals at an early age because the fundamentals don’t change, no matter the skill level, from amateur to pro,” Turner said. “And the kids did a good job of applying it to when they played. I saw kids in triple threat. I saw kids passing and cutting. They learned how to screen and roll. They learned the give and go. They learned how to play help-side defense — and they were actually doing that.
“That’s what’s good to see: what you teach them in the drill work, that they’re actually applying it to a 3-on-3 or a 5-on-5 game.”
No doubt, it helps campers understand the heights they can reach with hard work when former Pirates and current or soon-to-be college basketball players return to campus to share their stories.
Marcus Scott is playing basketball at Savannah State, and Kam Towns will begin his collegiate career at East Georgia State College in August, but it hasn’t been long since both were in the campers’ shoes.
Each attended Turner’s camp and went on to play for the Brunswick varsity team. Now both act as shining examples of determination and perseverance.
“Kam was cut; Marcus, not a very big kid, worked his tail off, gym rat,” Turner said. “We just want them to see that this is possible. You can do what this kid is doing.
“He’s not a 6-foot-8 kid. He’s just a normal-sized kid who has worked his tail off to get where he’s at.”
Golden Isles Fellowship of Christian Athletes area director Tim Harden was also invited to speak to the group on the final day.
Creating skilled athletes is important for a coach, but Turner also teaches his campers how to become great teammates with great attitudes.
“It’s a time to have fun, but we also try to teach them the fundamentals, try to teach them how to be good teammates, try to teach them how to be good people,” Turner said. “It’s a little more than basketball for us.”