For the second year in a row, Chris Taylor and Washington County Community College are partnering to bring professional and college-level coaches to Calais for a one-of-a-kind basketball camp. The three-day camp will instruct players of all skill levels on each aspect of the game in an effort to impart both a passion for the sport and methods of practicing that will serve to improve skill throughout a player’s lifetime.
This is the second time that the CT & Co. Downeast Basketball Clinic has been offered in Calais. Last year, 85 youth from around the state and New Brunswick came to participate in the clinic, which is open to children between grades 1-12 of any skill level or familiarity with basketball.
One of the key features of the clinic is that not only will participants have the opportunity to work with several professional basketball players and coaches, they will receive one-on-one attention from them. Taylor, who is the Director of Basketball Operations, an affiliate of the Indiana Pacers, anticipates bringing eight coaches to work with players across multiple stations.
“We focus on every component of the game,” Taylor said, noting that the fundamentals of techniques in offense, defense, shooting form, agility, and dribbling would be covered during the clinic.
Aside from Taylor himself, the coaches this year will include Steve Gansey, the Head Coach of the Indiana Mad Ants and the coach of the Indiana Pacers summer league this year. “It’s kind of neat for kids, since they’ll be able to see Steve on ESPN in Las Vegas a few weeks before he comes here.” They will be joined by assistant coaches from the Mad Ants and the Pacers.
Some of the coaches will bring a unique perspective, such as Kabir Moss, who has spent the last three years teaching basketball camps around the world as part of the Peace Corps. Not all of the coaches are from away – Logan Huckins is, like Taylor himself, a Calais High School graduate, and Megan Peach is a standout Husson University freshman that scored 1,000 points playing in high school.
For Taylor, bringing the clinic and its high-level of talent and engagement to Calais was an easy decision. “Basketball has been such a huge part of my life, and I know how much I enjoyed doing the clinics and camps growing up as a kid,” Taylor said. “I’ve been very fortunate with my basketball experience. This is a way to pass on the things I’ve learned along the way and to give the local kids a different perspective that they wouldn’t receive otherwise.”
Ben Collins, who is coordinating the program through WCCC and is a parent of a child that participated last year, expressed that the camp hits all the marks. “It’s nice from our point of view to not have to drive for hours to go to a camp like this,” Collins said. “And, it’s a local kid that grew up here that’s giving back. That’s what WCCC really likes about it: that’s its really local and trying to keep the kids here to show them that there’s stuff here to do instead of always having to go away.”
The intensive clinic, which will be held from August 1-3, is split into age groups. Grades 1-3 will be held from 9-10:30 at WCCC, grades 4-6 will be from 9-10:30 at CHS, and grades 7-12 will be 11-2 p.m. at CHS.
While only being an hour and a half long for the younger children, parents and players alike have found that the clinics are very engaging and packed with instruction. “There’s no standing around,” Taylor said. “Kids get in, put their shoes on, and get right to work. By the time the time’s up, they’re ready to go to the lake or the pool… We got nothing but positive feedback from parents.” There will be an ample amount of prizes and giveaways, including autographed items, shirts, gear, and more.
“The ultimate goal here is to pass on the love for the game,” Taylor said. “My friends that are coming love it as much as I do.”
The cost of the clinic is $75 per player. Registration can be done in advance or the day of the clinic by arriving early with cash or check. The doors will open at 8 a.m. To register or make a tentative RSVP, contact Ben Collins at 454-1068 or 242-3105 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To follow along with developments during the summer, check out CT & Co. Downeast Basketball Clinic on Facebook.