CRESTVIEW — Shoal River Middle School boys basketball Coach Mitch Buckelew sees the big picture when conducting a camp.
Yes, he’s the Mustang coach and, come this winter, he wants to beat rival Davidson Middle School.
But Buckelew’s first priority is teaching kids basketball, hoping they might one day play for Crestview High School.
“We (were) just trying to spend some time this summer working on the fundamentals of dribbling, passing, shooting, playing defense, rebound and boxing out," Buckelew said. "We told them if they can dribble, pass and shoot and play defense, box out and rebound, they can play the game at the next level, wherever they play.”
About 25 boys, ages 7-12, attended Thursday's camp. A girls camp ran Monday through Thursday this week. Players had a wide range of skills, from beginners to those who play in city leagues and travel ball, Buckelew said.
“In a camp like this you have parents that say, ‘Hey, I’m just going to let them try it and see if they like it or not,’” he said. “And then you’ve got kids all the way at the other end of the spectrum that play at the YMCA or (Central Baptist Church's) The ROC or the city.
“You try to challenge the kids that are a little bit at the top and you try to work them to see if we can make every layup. Whereas some of the other kids you are just trying to see if they can make a layup.
"You just try to keep it at that level where they always have something to work on.”
Shoal River girls coach Ryan Gillis joined Buckelew at the camp. Having another set of coaching eyes helped a lot, he said.
“He knows basically how we want to do things ... so that has been a big help,” Buckelew said. “Hopefully he’s enjoyed it and all of us have learned something.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.