By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The opportuntity to learn from a college coach, play on a collegiate court and individualized instruction are some of the things that have been taking place this week at a basketball camp held by Bluefield State College men’s basketball coach Jamaal Jackson at the Ned Shott Gymnasium.
“This is our second camp and we are excited,” Jackson said. “We don’t have as many kids as last year...but it allows us to give a little bit more individual instruction.”
Jackson is joined at the camp by his father, who he descibed as “The Real Jesse Jackson,” a long-time high school coach from Columbus, Ohio, former BSC player and current student assistant Devontae Royal and several volunteers.
“We’re giving them everything we have and they’re giving us everything they have, so they will take a lot from this camp,” Jackson said. “They will get a ittle bit better this week, but the big thing is taking the drills and everything they learn, taking them home and that repetition is where they really get good. And when tryout time for their school team and rec team comes, they will be ready.”
Mornings are devoted to teaching stations here ball handling, shooting, defense, passing, post moves, rebounding and conditioning are taught. After lunch the camp shifts gears and they players get to put what they learned in the morning to use as they play games, 1-on-1, 2-on-2 and 5-on-5. There are also hot shot and free throw shooting contests.
Jackson said the kids give him motivation to work harder in the sessions.
“They are great. This is the first time I’ve been on the court since our guys left in March,” Jackson said. “I wake up tired and sore, but once they come in full of energy, they wake me up and pick me up. Their attitude is great. They are eager to learn. They are meeting new frineds and that’s the best part about it.”
As a coach Jackson enjoys the teaching aspect as much, if not more, than the excitment of the game and its strategies.
Most coaches, that’s their favorite part of the job, teaching, teaching the skills and once they see somebody cathing on, or it just cilcks and gets in somebody’s head, that’s very gratifying whether it’s little kids like this, or juniors and seniors in college,” Jackson said. “You teach them over and over and once you see it click, it’s very gratifying.”
Jackson extended his thanks to two firms that have helped with the camp by providing for the campers, Kwik-Kafe of Bluefield, Va., and McDonald’s on Bluefield Avenue in Bluefield.
Recently the University of Kentucky offered a scholarship to an eighth-grade athlete. Asked if he sees any potential Big Blues or Lady Blues at the camp that he offer a scholarship, Jackson said, “I’ve seen some good players, but I’m not out there where I’m going to be offering six and seventh graders, but if they continue to improve, and I’ve seen some great guys out here, they’ve got skills, they love the game and they work hard — 10 and 11-year-olds diving on the floor, going on the floor hard, going for rebounds. That’s the biggest thing we need.
“There’s a lot of skilled guys everywhere, but if you love the game and you give that effort, those are the kind of players we really need. There are some kids I’d like to keep my eye on.”
— Contact Bob Redd at