Hoops camp isn’t just for the kids

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By Michael Hicks

It was Cami Chisholm’s mother that signed the 12-year-old student up for the second annual Front Range Christian School three-day basketball camp held last week. The first-time camper thought it would be fun, and it was.
What was the most fun?
“Probably shooting,” Chisholm said. “Making my form better and being a good sport.”
Front Range Christian School basketball coach Mike Anderson is the camp’s director. Last year, the camp drew 38 participants for one session daily. This year, they doubled the number of sessions and, in turn, the number of participants.
“A lot of it has to do with almost having 75 percent of the kids that we had last year back this year,” Anderson said. “We were really blessed to get that many kids back.
“A lot of it was just word of mouth. Last year, so many kids came back and a lot of them invited a friend.”
It didn’t hurt having former Cherry Creek High graduate, University of Kansas standout and NBA player Mark Randall on board as a celebrity instructor.
The camp is set up initially with four stations for shooting, defense, passing and dribbling, Anderson said. From there, the camp splinters off into competitions, such as free-throw shooting and 3-on-3 games.
And while the camp may be for the kids, Randall, who played four seasons in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets, Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons says he gains just as much out of it.
“It’s a blessing. I get to spend time with young people,” said Randall, who ran his own camp at Cherry Creek for 18 years. “What I do with the Nuggets is called community relations, community ambassador. I’m blessed to call it a job. I don’t look at it that way.
“I tell the parents thank you for giving me the opportunity. There were a lot of great people in my life to teach me the game of basketball. For me to pay that forward to this generation is a no-brainer.”
Like for Randall, the camp isn’t just for the kids. It’s for the coaches, Anderson said. That’s especially true for the Front Range Christian varsity boys and girls players who serve as coaches, Anderson said.
“It puts them in a position to be a coach,” Anderson said. “They learn how to serve, how to coach a little bit. It puts them all of the sudden in a role as a supervisor on the basketball court.”
Katherine Oosthuizen was one of the coaches.
“It kind of like getting a new love for the game. You watch them learn and kind of help them learn. It reminds you of when you were a kid and when all the coaches helped you,” the rising senior said.
Chisholm encourages anybody considering the 2013 camp to do it.
“They should definitely do it. It’s fun and the coaches are nice,” Chisholm said.