Campers, coaches gain during Youngstarz

Published 10:00 pm Friday, June 10, 2011

Nansemond River point guard Ashton Moore, who will play basketball at The Citadel come next school year, referees a 3-on-3 game during last summer’s Youngstarz Basketball Camp at Nansemond River. This year’s camp is set for June 27-30 and is for boys and girls in grades 3-8.

For the last six summers, Nansemond River’s Youngstarz Basketball Camp has become unique among summer hoops camps because the learning is a two-way street.

Most importantly, the campers improve their game. Secondly, current Warrior and Lady Warrior players are coaches for the week, so the older kids take lessons from the experience.

“It’s a chance to interact with the kids and teach them the skills they’re learning from me throughout the school year,” said Nansemond River head boys basketball coach Ed Young.

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“The younger kids relate so well to the players and my players see how the campers drive them nuts. I think it helps them see a little how they drive me nuts,” Young said.

The Seventh Annual Youngstarz Basketball Camp will be in action from June 27-30. The camp is open to boys and girls entering grades 3 through 8. It is a full-day camp, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., each day.

“We really emphasize fundamentals and the basics,” Young said. “We want it to be for kids who want to get better.”

Young feels camps that truly cover individual skills are losing ground to kids playing with AAU teams in tournaments through much of the summer.

AAU tournaments are valuable and important, but constantly playing games can leave little time for developing players through drills, practice time and working on the basics.

A full day of basketball means time for scrimmages, games, a lunch break and fun, without cutting into teaching, practicing and drills.

It also makes the week’s schedule easier for parents of all the campers.

“Part of why we do this is to help parents out a little. If someone has to be here and pick up their kid at noon, what do they do about work for the rest of the day?” Young said.

Warriors and Lady Warriors now playing ball at the college level always help as instructors and speakers during the camp.

In a way, the campers usually pay more attention to the guys and girls they’ve seen in action in red and black than the coaches. The number of autographs on a camp T-shirt is nearly as important as baskets made in a scrimmage.

“That interaction is always important and good to see. The campers look up to our players and being around them is a really big deal to them, and that’s good for our players to understand,” Young said.

Coaching youngsters through drills actually serves as good tutoring for the varsity Warriors on occasion.

“Working with the kids, they remind themselves what you have to do with certain skills. Sure, it’s a lower level to get it across to the younger kids but sometimes (the older players) need that, too,” Young said.

Entering its seventh summer, Youngstarz alums are now old enough to be playing for the Warriors and teaching at the camp. About the same number, says Young, are playing for Nansemond River’s rivals in Suffolk and around the area.

The registration cost is $100 until June 18 and $110 after June 18. It’s $80 per camper for two kids from the same family and $75 each for three or more from the same family. There’s a limit of 60 kids. For more information, contact Young at 923-4101 or