The Kyle Manary Elite Skills Camp this week tipped off its second event in as many years, and it appears the camp’s merits have spread throughout East Texas.
Young basketball players in grades 9-12 spent four days on the court of Shands Gymnasium at Angelina College, learning numerous drills and techniques from the AC men’s basketball coaching staff. Manary, who before arriving at AC worked with NBA player development, said on Wednesday he was impressed with how quickly the girls and boys were elevating their games.
“We’re seeing a ton of improvement from the first day,” Manary said. “We’ve been doing a lot of drills with the kids, some high-level stuff, and I’ve been impressed with how quickly they picked up and adapted. They’re growing their games.
“Basketball’s a game of details. A lot of people can put out cones and stuff, but the big separators are those details. Once the kids get those details down with the correct form, then they see success immediately from what they’ve been doing in the past. That’s what makes the camp go, to see so much improvement from one drill to the next. That’s the key: They’ve got to be able to take what the coaches say, and then they’ll realize they’re getting better. Then they’ll want to do it all the time.”
Some of the skills stressed included ball handling, passing, posting up and, of course, shooting. Each day ended with a scrimmage designed to allow the players to show off their newly acquired skills.
Dakota Matthews, an 11th grader for Silsbee High School’s Lady Tigers, said she’d already seen how to improve her personal goals through the camp.
“Coach Manary and Coach (Nick) Wade taught us different dribble moves and how to post up to get the ball,” Matthews said. “We’ve worked a lot on ball handling, too.
“I know when our season starts I’ll have better ball handling skills, and I’ll be a better passer.”
Bryson Sluga, a 10th grader from Zavalla High School, said he plans to take what he’s learned back to his own team.
“I’m learning to work a lot harder,” Sluga said. “The coaches are pushing us to our limits. I can show the drills we learned here to the rest of my teammates.”
Manary also commented on how many of the campers came from such distances as Chireno, Silsbee and other surrounding areas.
“We try to cast a net, and we call it our 80-mile radius,” Manary said. “We want to get all of East Texas, all of the
schools, everybody fired up about Angelina College basketball. We talk about it all the time. If we invest in our area and community, it will pay dividends.
“Hopefully, we’ll start getting some future Roadrunners in these camps. Who knows? In three or four years, these kids may be wearing AC orange and blue.”
Manary and the staff plan to conduct the camp every July.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is firstname.lastname@example.org.