Stars fill the courts at NSA
Published 6:41 pm Saturday, August 1, 2015
Young basketball players were practically everywhere from July 27 to 31 at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.
They had come to participate in the Shooting Star Basketball Camp put on by NSA girls’ basketball coach Kim Aston.
“We had 103 campers,” she said. Asked if that was a record, she replied, “Yeah, it is since I’ve been back to NSA. It might be the most I’ve ever had, but I had some big ones at Western Branch, too, but I don’t think I had this many.”
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The campers ranged in age from 6 to 17, though they were mostly 10th-graders and younger. Many are students at NSA.
“Out of the 103, I think there were 23 that don’t go to NSA, and then some of those were Suffolk public school kids, and then we had some kids from the Western Branch area,” Aston said.
They were all treated to a curriculum designed to grow them as basketball players during the course of the week through a mixture of stations and games.
“We do stations with them where we do just skill work and teach them very basic skill work, and then we do improvement drills where we do four different improvement drills, and they do them daily, and they try to improve on their scores each day,” Aston said.
Campers were divided into three age divisions, each of which had a fun nickname that was beyond their years: 6- to 8-year-olds were in the “High School” division, 9- to 12-year-olds were in the “Atlantic Coast Conference,” and most 12-year-olds through 17-year-olds were in the “NBA.”
Aston was grateful that the lower school gym at NSA was available for the camp.
“That made it a lot easier to handle all of those kids,” she said. “So the 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds played, did their stations and their improvement drills and their games down in the lower school gym,” while the 9- through 17-year-olds remained in the upper school gym.
After campers learned skills, they went on to two-on-two or three-on-three competitions where they were able to put that skill to use.
The skills taught became progressively more complex, and Aston said that on July 31, participants were being taught how to defend against a screen and roll and how to defend against off-ball screens.
Campers were also broken up into teams, which played in morning and afternoon games. The games led up to a tournament the last two days to determine champions in the age divisions.
“I got a lot out of the camp,” said 13-year-old Camryn King of Suffolk. “I really liked it. It’s my first time coming, but I got a lot of new dribbling skills, and I know how to properly shoot now, so I feel like I got a lot better during this week.”
When asked to identify his favorite thing about the camp, 12-year-old Braedon McCauley of Chesapeake said, “Wow, that’s a really hard decision. I don’t know really, because I really liked a lot of it.”
It was his first time attending, and he plans to be back.
“I would recommend this camp to a lot of people who want to play basketball,” he said.
To make the camp work, Aston relied upon 21 camp counselors/coaches, many of which were current or former NSA players.
NSA rising senior basketball player Hunter Brinkley enjoyed his first time helping out.
“I just love playing basketball, and it was fun being a coach for once,” he said.
He led his team, Notre Dame, to the ACC championship. To help make that happen, he said, “We worked on good form in jump shots and just playing as a team, passing the ball.”
Following are award-winners broken down into the three age divisions:
HS — Will Lewis and Aubrey Council
ACC — David Russell and Maren Council
NBA — Jared Hawkins and Sasha Roberts
Improvement Drill Winner
ACC — Jaden Gottlieb and KC Canady
NBA — Stephen Gottlieb and Alivia Giles
HS — Zahra Saniford
ACC — Emma Conrod
NBA — Carson Brett
HS — Kingston Brockett
ACC — David Russell
NBA — Austin Eberwine
HS — Joey McGowan
ACC — Brady King
NBA — Jaden Hill
Best Free Throw Shooter
HS — Colton Beale
ACC — Brady King
NBA — Jared Hawkins