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Fast start for Bulldog MVP camp

The first-ever Bulldog MVP Skill Development Camp was a big step to take for King’s Fork’s head boys basketball coach, Joshua Worrell. Coaching and keeping more than 40 kids in line for four days is a big task.

At the same time though, considering a lot of what Worrell is doing during the camp is pretty similar to what he does at every practice during the last six basketball seasons leading the Bulldogs, by Tuesday, day two of the camp, every drill, contest and scrimmage was running smoothly.

More than 40 kids have come out for the week, with the younger half during the morning and the older group during the afternoon. Worrell said he thought about combining the groups into one larger camp, but decided against it.

“For the first year, this is a pretty good number. It’s a good number to have, to have everything be under control and see how everyone is doing, to see everyone’s doing the right things,” Worrell said.

The campers heard from a special guest, Nansemond River alum and basketball standout Maurice Riddick. Riddick graduated from NR in 2000 and went on to a basketball career at Bethune-Cookman.

After playing for the Wildcats, Riddick has been playing professionally for the past six years in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.

He spoke to both groups of campers and had some show-and-tell. Riddick had the jerseys of the pro teams he’s played for and one specific item that always gets basketball players’ attentions.

“He showed the kids his own shoe,” Worrell said. In Mexico, Riddick had his own shoe produced by a company that sponsored him. “It had his name on it and the shoes are sold in Mexico,” Worrell said.

“He was a kid in Suffolk. He grew up here, so the kids see what’s possible, but he also told them about having to work hard,” Worrell said.

“He said one of the most important things is respecting your self. If you respect your self, you’ll respect your teammates, your parents, your coaches,” Worrell said.

The young players had one of the top Bulldogs from the program’s still young history on hand as a coach as Jamar Wertz helped out with drills and fundamentals, especially when it came to showing kids how to shoot the basketball. Wertz was a four-year letterman for Worrell and a senior on KF’s 2008-09 31-1 state championship team. He’s currently a guard at Maryland Baltimore-County.

Worrell’s current varsity players are helping out as well.

“And the younger guys, especially the younger group, they’ve watched these guys play,” Worrell said.

Competition is a constant part of KF practices during the season, so it’s used in many ways in drills and instruction during the camp.

Ball handling and stamina was turned into a contest with “dribble tag”, where teams of four go in relay fashion around chairs. The first team to catch the other team wins. In the case of one dribble tag game, it meant a game lasting more than five minutes.

“Players, from 5 to 15 (years old), they want to be better than the next player,” Worrell said.

Tuesday evening is another night of summer league basketball at King’s Fork. Fred Scott, Tre Francisco and Zach Johnson pulled a quadruple header of sorts. Those three Bulldogs helped all day during the camp, starting around 8 a.m., and KF had a summer league doubleheader, meaning Scott, Francisco and Johnson would be on the court until 9 p.m, or later.

“It’s very interesting to see either the older players teaching the skills they already know,” Worrell said. “Most of the time, it’s harder to teach things than to do the same thing.”

“Then you hear (the varsity players) say, ‘these kids aren’t listening,’ and you want to say, ‘now you know what I’m trying to do.’ So it’s a good experience for them to see,” Worrell said.