Ray’s B-ball Camp Brings Out The Best
WVU women’s basketball power forward Liz Repella was the featured guest at this year’s 20th Mike Ray Basketball Camp the week of June 15 at Hundred, where she helped teach ball handling, passing, shooting and rebounding skills, and fundamentals of defense.
The campers were divided into three grade groups, elementary, 2-5 junior, 6-8 and senior 9-12.
When they arrived at 10 a.m. every day, campers were greeted with a welcome and told what to expect that day and what guest speaker was scheduled.
On the opening day, Chad Clutter, head coach of the girls’ basketball team at Cameron High School, spoke to the campers. On Tuesday, North Marion Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Chris Freeman spoke. And, on Wednesday, Valley Head Girls’ Basketball Coach Larry Weekley addressed the campers.
Thursday’s speaker was Paden City Boys Basketball Head Coach Fred King and on Friday there were contests in free throws, three point shots, and hot spot competitions. The camp concluded with awards and a farewell address by Coach Mike Ray himself.
Each day, campers practiced foul shots, three point shots, and hot spot skill fundamentals such as ball handling, shooting form; offensive moves in the perimeter; boxing out; offensive moves in the paint; defending the dribbler and cutter.
Campers also had competitions in a 50-yard dash, sargent jump, and block jump, along with other drills like figure eight passing. They also had scrimmage games among their groups.
On Wednesday morning the campers got a surprise. Liz Repella, a starter on the West Virginia University Mountaineers Girls’ Basketball Team spoke and helped all day during the camp. She later put on a shooting exhibition.
“It’s great to see coaches that give up their summer to help make kids better,” said Repella. She told the campers that she shoots 600 shots a day, adding, “The only way you can get better is practice.”
Lunches for the week were provided with donations from First Exchange Bank, Union Bank, Green Acres/Citgo, Country Cupboard, Miss Blues, Bill and Dianna Lemley, and Tennant Funeral Home. The contributions were collected by parents Kristina Shriver and Ronda McDiffitt.
In previous years, players from WVU’s male basketball team volunteered to help at the camp. But Ray suggested that players from the women’s WVU team be asked to participate.
Ray was impressed not only with Repella’s ability and expertise, but also with the way she got along with the campers.
“This is the best game ever invented, and one of few that you can play by yourself and get better,” said Ray.