Much of Derek Waugh’s attention is on finding a men’s basketball coach.
But he may have found some future Roadrunners this week, too.
A total of 44 local kids participated in the Dalton State College athletic director’s kids basketball camp this week at Dalton Parks and Recreation’s James Brown Park.
Players ages 6 to 12 and from different experience and talent levels spent the week learning shooting, passing and dribbling techniques from Waugh, Coahulla Creek High coach Matthew Queener, DSC associate professor of management and marketing in the School of Business Richard Hennier, DSC director of campus recreation Garrett Burgner and Daytona (Fla.) State College coach Sebastain Singletary.
The kids also played five-on-five and three-on-three games and other dribbling and shooting competitions.
Waugh called the turnout “great” considering he started advertising for it only recently, and the first camp he ran at his previous school had less than half that number.
“I didn’t know really what to expect,” Waugh said. “I know the first camp at Stetson (University) we had 21 kids. So I was really happy with the turnout. We’ve had some great attitudes, and (DPRD’s) Steve Card, Alex Sullins and Steve Roberts have all been fantastic in making this thing go.”
Some kids are happy they learned about it at all.
“One of my friends was coming and his parents told my parents about it,” 11-year-old Dalton Middle student Sam Carlson said. “I definitely think I’ve learned things. I’ve won knockout (a shooting competition), too.”
The skill levels and experience are wide ranging, Waugh said. Another Dalton Middle student, 12-year-old Eli Hasselberg, has only played the sport for two years.
But he’s already winning.
“Three versus three,” he said when asked what his favorite event was, “because me, Austin (Burt) and Mason (Chastain) have won all our games.”
Kristen Halman, a 12-year-old Christian Heritage student, couldn’t go to all the Lions’ camps this summer, but she is making the effort to improve.
“I was a better shooter, but then I got a basketball trainer and he made me a better dribbler,” she said.
Apparently, it’s working. Halman won the game called “rooster,” a dribbling competition.
“You have a jersey sticking out from the back of your pants and you dribble around and try to knock other players’ balls out of bounds or pull the jersey out,” she said.
With DSC on the verge of hiring a new men’s basketball head coach 30 years after shutting the program down, it is a busy time for Waugh. But the Roadrunners’ athletics leader agreed to kickstart a kids camp and organized it in hopes it gives kids another avenue to improve.
“Our purpose here is to help teach kids the game of basketball,” he said, adding the original plan was to have the camp at City Park School but the DPRD’s swimming pool at James Brown and daily swimming breaks provided the reason for switching locations.
The long-term plan is to turn the camp over to the new head coach.
“A good way to recruit is team camps,” Waugh said. “We want to get high schools to Dalton for three-day camps, similar to the (Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship).”