DUMAS — Dumas Lady Cats coach Gloria Slater and a group of instructors tipped off the Dumas Basketball Camp Wednesday afternoon, welcoming 20 campers to the event that focuses on the fundamentals of the game.
As the participants ran through drills during the opening session, Slater meandered the gymnasium, offering instructional words of encouragement to those in attendance.
She also perused the building for future talent.
“This can only help feed our program,” Slater said. “I can tell a difference in the ones that have been here and been through these camps when they get to my level.”
Shabr’an Richardson played for Slater for the past four years. Richardson graduated recently and will continue her basketball career at Alabama A&M, where she received a full scholarship.
“I always try to come help my aunt,” Richardson said of the family ties between her and Slater. “Plus, I just love being around the game. I am either at work or playing basketball somewhere anyway. She didn’t even know I was coming this morning. I just showed up. And I will be here all week doing whatever I can to help.”
And her influence could be just the impact former high school players need, such as camper Maya Hood. Hood, a talented 14-year-old small forward, made the trek from Memphis to attend the camp, partly because Dumas junior high coach Cicely Greene is her aunt and partly because of her aspirations to play at the high school and college level.
“I have been playing since I was in the third grade,” Hood said. “I am trying to get my game together so I can start getting attention from scouts. I am trying to get to college and not have to pay for anything.”
Hood said that attending Slater’s camp was one of the keys to her success.
“I know how to do everything but I’m not as strong as I need to be in every area,” Hood said. “I know there are things I need to work on, like dribbling skills and footwork, and I get those things here.”
Richardson said she remembers her time at the camp.
“I know I wanted to be camper of the day,” Richardson said. “I wanted to do everything right. Every year there are awards given out and I wanted to get that top award. I got it my final year and it felt good. It gave me something to work for.”
Slater said the camp was a good way for the future of the program to stay in tune.
“About half of our high school players attend this camp,” she said. “And it really helps when they get there and understand the basics of the game. We still have work to do, though. We need to do a better job in our peewee program and get them involved more. The earlier the better.”
Slater said every camper is not going to retain everything, but years of hearing consistent instruction would eventually pay off.
“If they just get one thing out of this camp then it serves its purpose,” said Slater. “And sometimes you don’t know what they get. But they hear the same things over and over and I have seen the results.”
The camp continues today and concludes Friday.