By Dave Wagner
Basketball season is several months off, but teams are already busy getting things lined up.
This weekend, 20 high school boys programs from New Mexico and western Texas are taking part in Eastern New Mexico University’s three-day team camp at Greyhound Arena.
Teams have different agendas as they look towards next season.
For Portales High coach Rickie McBroom, working on shooting is the top priority during the summer schedule, which essentially runs through June.
“We want kids to get a lot of shooting in,” McBroom said. “With as many kids as we have playing football, that’s important for us.”
The Rams have already been to a camp in Roswell and will travel to Moriarty for another one next week. McBroom said he wants his squad to develop a chemistry.
PHS lost to eventual champion Hope Christian in last year’s Class 3A quarterfinals. Still, despite losing eight players to graduation, McBroom is optimistic about the upcoming campaign.
“We are extremely, extremely deep,” he said. “We’re going to be able to play a lot of kids.”
In Class 1A, the Melrose Buffaloes are hoping to build consistent program. Only one starter, guard Colton Draper, and a couple of reserves were lost to graduation.
Coach Jim Doherty said he pretty much knows what kind of team he’ll have next season. The Buffs finished 14-13 last year, losing to eventual 1A champion Cliff in the quarterfinals.
“With the varsity boys, it’s about getting better,” Doherty said. “We’re trying to hone our skills.”
A more long-range goal is to develop a solid program year-in and year-out.
“We’re trying to make sure (the players) know the concepts,” Doherty said. “We have some younger kids who’ll have to step in, and some older kids who we expect to lead.”
The Dora Coyotes have a number of returning regulars, but graduated one of the top performers in Class 1A last season in center Dylan Privett.
“We’ve got a jam-packed June,” coach Kevin Lackey said, noting the Coyotes also went to a camp in Roswell and are playing in a Monday night league at Portales. He said they have a camp late this month at New Mexico State.
Dora went 24-5 last season, losing in overtime in the 1A state tourney to eventual runnerup Escalante.
“We graduated four seniors, and some are kids you just can’t replace,” Lackey said. “We’re kind of using this as a chance to bridge the gap for our younger kids and have them understand our system.”