Craig Macari was looking for the best basketball camp to offer his Woodland Park High School girls’ team. He found it in Midwest Elite Basketball Camps.
“I get flyers for camps all the time, but this one really stood out to me,” Macari said during the final day of the camp. “Unlike a lot of camps, they work with you. They had me fill out a scouting report for my team and they designed the camp to fit our needs.”
Two coaches from Emporia State University in Kansas — Tyler Long and Justin Tucek — represented Midwest Elite Basketball Camps. They ran the three-day camp from July 19-21 in the Woodland Park main gym.
Campers dedicated themselves to working on various basketball-related skills like dribbling, shooting and passing.
“I really needed this camp,” said Woodland Park junior Izzy Newsom. “This is only my third year playing and I really need to get better at what I’m doing.
“I really enjoy this camp because these coaches are making this camp a lot of fun and they are breaking the ice because we’re all nervous.”
Several of Newsom’s varsity teammates form last season were at the camp.
“This will help us for our next season,” said senior Savannah Roshek. “We’re learning things that we can incorporate into a game.”
Roshek, who also plays volleyball for the school, capped off her busy week by attending a volleyball camp at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
There were 13 girls and seven boys at the camp. About half the campers were incoming freshmen.
“I came here to learn more about basketball and learn some drills that will help me,” said freshman Rylee Schoendaller. “Dribbling, passing and shooting are the things we’re mostly focusing on at this camp.”
Junior Bella Slocum was second on the Panthers in points and rebounds last season. She came to the camp to improve her overall basketball skills.
“I’m learning to push myself a lot more and I really want to improve my overall game,” she said. “These coaches are really specific for what I need to do, like work on my shot and my ball handling.”
Long has worked camps all over the country this summer. He is working a camp in Milwaukee this week.
“We have 70 college coaches right now and we travel the country,” Long said. “We customize our plan to each specific high school. What I’m doing today at Woodland Park High School is completely different than what I’m going to do next week in Milwaukee.
“Our goal is to come in here and have player one to player 20 to get better. We have to customize our practice plans to make sure everybody’s getting something out of it.”
He and Tucek stayed at Macari’s home while there were in Woodland Park. Each day after camp they did things unique to the area, like visit Garden of the Gods Park, play golf at Shining Mountain and fish at Lost Dutchman Resort in Florissant.
“Craig has taken care of us,” Tucek said. “It’s been awesome out here.
“Coming here and working with these kids you know you’re making an impact. It makes you feel good.”
The start of the high school basketball season is in early November. Games take place the end of November.
As of now, teams should expect to play a full 23-game regular season.