Grace Chris­tian hosts chil­dren’s basketball camp

Kids of all ages take part in week-long event

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

Through­out much of the school year, the gym­na­sium at the Grace Chris­tian Acad­emy in Wal­dorf is of­ten filled with kids of var­i­ous age groups look­ing to hone their skills in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent sports.

But dur­ing this past week at Grace Chris­tian, the school gym­na­sium was buzzing with ac­tiv­ity from the morn­ing and well into the late af­ter­noon hours as the school hosted its an­nual sum­mer basketball camps. Ath­letic di­rec­tor and camp di­rec­tor Brian Deschaine and as­sis­tant coach Jor­dan Wil­liams, a Grace Chris­tian alum, guided 26 play­ers through var­i­ous drills and then over­saw full-court scrim­mages that com­prised the last hour of each day.

“We had a good turnout this sum­mer,” said Deschaine, head­ing into his fourth year as di­rec­tor of stu­dent af­fairs. “We de­cided to split the days in half so that all the kids would not be drag­ging at the end of the day when we ran the scrim­mages. It was a very good group of coach­able kids. Some of them will be here in the fall, but oth­ers will be look­ing to play at other schools.”

One of the campers who will be re­turn­ing to Grace Chris­tian in the fall is Kevin Saun­ders, a ris­ing se­nior who was part of the Knights’ ti­tle run in the Mid-East­ern Re­gional Chris­tian Schools Tour­na­ment last win­ter. Saun­ders, who also runs out­door track for the school, ad­mit­ted the drills for the camp were tough but ben­e­fi­cial as he looks to hone his shoot­ing skills be­fore the up­com­ing sea­son.

“The coaches keep telling me to work on my left-handed shoot­ing,” said Saun­ders, who plans to at­tend ei­ther Lib­erty Univer­sity (Va.) or George Ma­son and be­gin ma­jor­ing in avi­a­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion one year from now. “The camp was very com­pet­i­tive this sum­mer. We got a lot of good coach­ing and we worked a lot on fun­da­men­tals and shoot­ing.”

In fact, Deschaine noted that the first two hours of each day was ded­i­cated to fun­da­men­tals then the coaches and campers would take a break to dis­cuss the five main points of the camp — com­mu­nity, char­ac­ter, be­ing coach­able, be­ing team first play­ers and dis­ci­pline.

“Our five traits that we preach to the kids ev­ery day are not just about basketball, but can help you be­come a bet­ter per­son and help you suc­ceed in life,” Deschaine said. “Hav­ing Jor­dan here as my as­sis­tant and know­ing that he’s a for­mer player here helps the kids re­al­ize what it takes to suc­ceed. He’s been help­ing me all sum­mer for the last four years and he could prob­a­bly run the camp by him­self if I couldn’t make it.”

Nathan Roys­ter, a ris­ing sopho­more at Grace Chris­tian, spent much of the 2016-17 sea­son with the ju­nior var­sity squad be­fore be­ing pro­moted to var­sity for the post­sea­son. Roys­ter did not get much play­ing time when the Knights made their bids for Metro In­de­pen­dent Schools Ath­letic League and later the MERCS ti­tle, but he ex­pects that fol­low­ing the camps he should ar­rive ready for play once the 2017-18 sea­son gets un­der way.

“It was a lot of hard work,” Roys­ter said of the camps. “We spent a lot of time on fun­da­men­tals and other drills. But, for the most part I thought it went well. I didn’t get to play much on var­sity. But we had a lot of good se­niors last year. I ex­pect to make var­sity again and this year get more play­ing time.”

DeSean Estep spent the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons on the var­sity squad at Chop­ti­con High School in neigh­bor­ing St. Mary’s County and plans to en­roll at Grace Chris­tian this year af­ter his fam­ily re­lo­cates to Wal­dorf. Estep, a ris­ing se­nior, be­lieved the week-long camp was ben­e­fi­cial in nu­mer­ous ways.

“It was good be­cause we spent a lot of time on fun­da­men­tals,” said Estep, who also played base­ball for Chop­ti­con. “We did a lot of drills early in the day then we fin­ished by run­ning scrim­mages. It was fun to get out and play some games at the end of the day. I’m hop­ing to come here in the fall and be part of the basketball team in the win­ter.”

Wal­dorf res­i­dent Tyler Do­er­som, a ris­ing fresh­man at DeMatha High School in Prince George’s County af­ter grad­u­at­ing from St. Mary’s Bryan­town last spring, en­joyed the coach­ing and par­tic­i­pat­ing in the drills. Do­er­som also ad­mits that he has a good por­tion of his play­ing ca­reer mapped out well be­yond the next four years at DeMatha.

“I thought the coaches here were in­cred­i­ble,” Do­er­som said. “Jor­dan can re­ally shoot and he taught me a lot about shoot­ing. Coach Brian re­ally stresses the fun­da­men­tals and the bond­ing and fel­low­ship of the play­ers. Last year when I was here I was ner­vous be­cause I didn’t know how well I would fit it. But this year was great. I can’t wait to play for DeMatha and in col­lege and then some­day in the NBA.”

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