Skills acquired at Lakeland camp

Published 9:12 pm Friday, July 31, 2015

Lakeland varsity boys’ basketball coach Clint Wright has created a well-oiled machine in the form of the LHS Skills Camp, which ran July 27-30 at Lakeland High School.

Rising fifth-grader Rajuhn Jenkins prepares to unleash a shot as Lakeland coach Clint Wright looks on during the LHS Skills Camp on July 30 at Lakeland High School.

Rising fifth-grader Rajuhn Jenkins prepares to unleash a shot as Lakeland coach Clint Wright looks on during the LHS Skills Camp on July 30 at Lakeland High School.

“Definitely excited about the way it went,” he said. “I’m grateful to my staff that on the first two nights, they ran it themselves.”

Wright said he was in Connecticut for training for his work with Newport News Shipbuilding but couldn’t wait to get back.

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Leading 26 campers in learning the fundamentals of basketball were Poquoson High School varsity boys’ basketball coach Erik Johnson and Cavaliers assistant coaches Rodney Jones and Larry Riddick.

Johnson, a former assistant of Wright’s at Lakeland, said the camp went well.

“This was probably our best year so far, and it sounds weird because Coach Wright wasn’t able to be there for all of it, but he was very meticulous in his planning, which he’s known for that,” Johnson said. “He met with me and his assistant, Rod, the night before camp was supposed to kick off and gave us a detailed outline of exactly what he wanted and the schematics of everything.”

Johnson also brought experience with how Wright runs the camp, having helped him run it since Wright first came to Lakeland.

While the coaches did not hand out awards at the end of the camp, Johnson highlighted a few of the campers who stood out. He noted everyone worked hard, but he was particularly impressed by Christopher Chambliss, a rising eighth-grader who could be playing for Lakeland in the future.

“I don’t know if he was pushing himself to get noticed by the coaches or whatnot, but he did everything he possibly could to the best of his ability, and it was awesome,” Johnson said.

Another camper Johnson highlighted was rising fourth-grader Dnayshia Jenkins.

As a physical education teacher for students around Dnayshia’s age, Johnson said he sees all sorts of skill levels from them, but she was outstanding.

“This girl had probably the best footwork I’ve ever seen out of a third-grader,” he said. “She was pushing the fifth- and sixth-graders. I was running the calisthenics station and the plyometrics, and we were using an agility ladder.”

For every activity he instructed her to perform, he said her response was, “‘Yes, Coach,’ and then she had it perfect by her second time around. I was blown away.”

Wright said there were some campers that he had never seen before and some with little to no experience.

“I was grateful to see those type of novice players there, those that had never played the game but just wanted to see what the game of basketball was all about,” he said. “Definitely I could tell by the interaction that some had never really considered playing basketball, and this camp is something that captured their interest, and hopefully it’s something that will have them wanting to play this game going forward.”

Rising fifth-grader Austin Clements and his brother, rising third-grader Peyton Clements, have never played basketball before

“They could have easily packed it in, Day One, and said, ‘You know what, this isn’t for us, we’re not coming back,’ and nobody would have thought any worse of them, any better, anything,” Johnson said. “But those brothers went to (camp) every day, they were some of the first campers to arrive, the last ones to leave and there was huge growth shown in both of them.”

A significant number of girls from the Windsor High School basketball program also participated in the camp.