Basketball camp brings out area players

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 2, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; This week gyms in Demopolis have echoed with the sounds of basketballs thumping hardwood, sneakers squeaking off of cuts and players shouting to teammates to make adjustments or pass the ball.

Basketball players weren&8217;t out in mass out of a passion to get back on the courts during the off-season, though such a desire could have been a contributing factor to the turnout seen at the Theo Ratliff Basketball Camp that filled gyms at the Theo Ratliff Center, Demopolis Middle School and Demopolis High School. Rather, players were drawn out to the wood work to pick up skills at the camp from coaches from area high schools and the University of West Alabama &8212; all under the watchful eye of Theo Ratliff, an NBA player born and raised in Demopolis.

Ratliff will have his fair share of children to choose from, as organizers have said that they expect large numbers for this year&8217;s camp.

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Bell said the players attending the camp have been broken down into three age groups, which will play at different venues during the camp. The eight-11-year-olds will play at the Center, the 12-14-year-olds will play at the middle school and the 15-18-year-olds will play at the high school.

Bell said the camp focused on teaching players fundamental of the game, on which they can then build through season play. He said the groups worked on dribbling, offense and defense and team activities.

Along with teaching players of the area skills they can carry on to team play, Bell said the camp also has other positive impacts. He said it helps build skills for the area programs, thus making them stronger, and it introduces children to the Theo Ratliff Center. He said it is also nice to let children see a player from the area like Ratliff coming back to the community.