Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community youth worked on their basketball skills at the Salt River Basketball Camp, held at the Salt River High School gym July 19–23. This was the sixth annual Community basketball camp, and it’s always a popular event because, for one, it takes place indoors, and everyone who lives in this 110-degree weather wants to be inside.
The camp has grown in recent years, and now there are three sessions each day: the morning session is for elementary children, the afternoon session is for junior high children, and the evening session is for the high school kids. About 50 children participated this year.
Members of the Warriors/Pride basketball teams, Salt River Recreation staff, Salt River High School staff and players from the Lady Eagles basketball team helped out by working with the children at the basketball camp.
In the morning sessions, almost every child was eager to get their hands on the ball after it was passed to them so they could try to master the skills that they were being taught. Nizhoni said, “It was very tiring, but it’s worth learning during the summer.”
Eight-year-old Ethan Waters said he was happy to learn everything about basketball. “I am learning how to dribble better and working on my shooting,” said Ethan.
Teanna Osif, 9, had to catch her breath after practicing her passing. “The camp is fun today. We learned about dribbling, passing and shooting. I am learning how to dribble under my legs and it is very hard,” she said.
Although all the kids learn the same skills—dribbling, passing, defense, rebounding and shooting—each session is more advanced. In the junior high sessions, the drills are more difficult than the elementary sessions and they practice with two balls instead of one. The high school session is even more advanced. The campers work on drills and have scrimmages throughout the week, and then they play in several games to practice what they have learned.
Twelve-year-old Jake Juan, in the junior high group, liked the drills. He said this was his first time at the camp, and he liked the workouts the trainers gave him.
Wrapping up the week, the staff brought in a deejay and had giveaways to celebrate the last day of basketball camp.
The annual Salt River Basketball Camp is presented by the Salt River Recreation Department, Salt River High School and Robert Johnston’s Warrior/Pride teams.