More Than 120 Take Part In WHS Basketball Skills Camp

11-year-old Anurag Veeranachaneni of Emerald Cove Middle School leaps to block a shot during camp game play.

The Wellington High School basketball program has been hosting its ninth annual basketball skills camp over the last two weeks. The first camp session ran from June 4 through June 7, and the second session was conducted June 11 through June 14.

According to Matt Colin, Wellington’s head coach and camp director, the program has exceeded expectations in attendance at this summer’s camp.

“It has been great,” Colin said. “We have so many kids who have this much interest in basketball. We love working with kids in this community, so it’s a great thing.”

More than 120 basketball enthusiasts, both boys and girls from ages 6 to 14, will have participated by the conclusion of the two camp weeks. The camp even drew the interest of some local travel players, the Wellington Wolves, as well as players from as far away as Fort Lauderdale.

The success that Wellington’s basketball program has built over the years, winning a state title in 2015, five straight district championships, three regional titles and last year’s state finals appearance, has propelled the summer skills camp into the forefront of basketball camps in the area.

Ball handling, passing and shooting were some of the things that the coaching staff focused on with the campers. “We try to really raise the IQ of the player,” Colin explained. “Our coaches talk to the kids while they play, so they learn how to play, how to get open, how to come off screens — things that will make them a better basketball player.”

The camp is not directed at advanced players; all levels are invited to enjoy the sport of basketball. “It’s any level. We adjust to the player,” Colin said. “We try to make the kid the best player they can possibly be, no matter what their starting point is.”

The camp’s basketball skill exercises promote fun and encourage competition. Players participate in stations and competitive drills, then break into teams for games to put their skills to the test.

Members of the Wolverine basketball squad were in the gym, assisting as coaches for the campers.

“It keeps them involved, but more importantly, to be mentors to the kids within the community,” Colin explained. “They get to learn what it’s like where they’re no longer the kid. They’re actually the adult, and they have to be responsible to the kids they are coaching. I think it’s a great learning experience.”

Colin believes that his players can be developed into leaders, on and off the court, from contributing to the community to managing themselves in a competitive atmosphere during the high school basketball season.

“Right now, we’re a team looking for leaders in our own basketball program,” Colin said. “We’ve had so much turnover the last two years, and I think this will help bring out that person.”

Wellington has had 12 players graduate over the past two seasons, and Colin hopes leaders will surface from mentoring the campers.