Ram basketball mentors players of the future

Bryant Million: PNT Staff Writer

The Portales Rams basketball staff conducted a four-day camp with help from players from the high school varsity team.

“The kids are out here to learn the basics, the building blocks of what it takes to be a good basketball player,” said Portales head coach Mark Gallegos.

The camp focused on drills but also included 3-on-3 games in order for the players to learn to work together and build up the team aspects of the game, he said.

The camp was held Monday through Thursday in the PHS gymnasium and was divided into two sessions. Nearly 100 seventh- to ninth-grade boys attended.

The camp also had free-throw and hot-shot contests.
In the hot-shot contest Thursday, the top shooter in the afternoon session of the camp for the previous three days faced Doc Elder in a shooting contest. Elder is a professor of histories and humanities at Eastern New Mexico University and commentator for many ENMU games.

Gallegos said the afternoon’s hot-shot champ was freshman Kevin Welch. Elder beat Welch. The hot-shot champ for the morning session of the camp was sixth-grader Reyes Calbert.

The hot-shot champs each won a basketball and T-shirt.
Gallegos said this is the camp’s eighth year, and usually about 80 to 90 kids attend each year. Most of them are from Portales so he’s seen a lot of kids begin here and go on to become players for the high school basketball team.

Eighth-grader Lathan Lieb said the program is fun because he gets to see a lot of his friends and play basketball with them while learning the fundamentals.

“I just love to play game,” Lathan said. “I always have and always will.”

Rickie McBroom, who helped teach at the camp and will become an assistant coach for PHS basketball in the fall, said the camp is a lot of fun because it involves playing basketball.

“The kids improve their skill level and you can watch them getting better and better from day to day. It’s a lot of fun to see.”