Ratliff camp affects area youth

Published 9:43 pm Wednesday, July 16, 2008

DEMOPOLIS — The 2008 Theo Ratliff Basketball Camp wrapped up Wednesday as approximately 150 young people from around the area enjoyed one final day of fundamental training and team play before joining together at the Theo Ratliff Activity Center for closing ceremonies.

“Camp went great. The kids are definitely getting better and better. I definitely see the improvement,” event founder and sponsor Theo Ratliff said following Wednesday’s festivities.

The camp, which took Tuesday and Wednesday at the activity center, Demopolis Middle School and Demopolis High School, relied heavily on a network of individuals.

“It means a lot to me,” Ratliff said of the support he has received with the camp over the years. “Pretty much the same people come out every year and help me. And not just from Demopolis, from around the state.”

The camp utilized the services of head and assistant coaches at each facility in order to help young players hone their fundamentals in both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game. Players worked on ball handling, shooting and lay-ups before taking time to develop their understanding of the overall offensive and defensive team concepts.

In addition to the time they spent enhancing their fundamental skills, campers participated in team games, lay up competitions, free throw competitions and knock out.

Over the course of the two-day camp, participants were also exposed to TEMPO, an anti-tobacco initiative. Each camper was provided a bag of keepsakes, including a water bottle and commemorative T-shirt.

At the conclusion of Wednesday’s events, the campers met at the activity center for closing ceremonies that included the presentation of certificates to each participant as well as awards given to the competition winners in each age group and special awards that were presented to the players from each division who displayed the best defensive skill and showed the most hustle.