BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Big Shots — one of the top basketball recruiting and AAU circuits in the country — set up shop at The Bridge sports complex in Bridgeport on Sunday for a Top 150 camp.
More than 80 basketball players from West Virginia, and beyond, were at The Bridge to take part in the skills camp and game competition.
Among the instructors were former WVU great, Juwan Staten, and former Fairmont Senior and Marshall standout, Deon Dobbs.
Plenty of local players were on hand, including Polar Bears’ guard Zycheus Dobbs, Morgantown’s Sharron Young, South Harrison’s Corey Boulden and Buckhannon-Upshur’s Lamar Hurst.
The purpose and goal for these players today was simple — improve your skill set, and show off the skills you already have with the hopes of getting the chance to play at the next level one day.
“It was very cool. Usually we have to go eight hours to come to Big Shots, so it was just cool to have it in our back yard. We didn’t have to travel that far,” Dobbs said. “We were in West Virginia, you know we gotta show out for our home court.”
“(An instructor) said ‘Let me see what you can do.’ So I was like alright I’ll show you. And then, you know, I showed him,” said Hurst. “Most importantly for me (is) to prove to myself, getting better and better every day. I just want to do my school proud, and my county proud and my town, Buckhannon, proud. That’s my goal. That’s what I want to do.”
Not only was it great to have this event close to home for these players, who would normally have to travel five hours or more to get to a similar Big Shots camp. It was also great watching Staten imparting some of his wisdom onto the next generation of players.
“Any time you can put a group of kids together, and teach them the fundamentals of the game, and let them get out here and play against some competition, and kind of see where they rank up, I think it’s a great thing,” Staten said. “I did it when I was younger, and you know you don’t see too much of that around this area. So, I’m glad to see that here. I’m glad to be able to help any way that I can. I think it’s a positive thing.”
Young and Dobbs could be seen putting on a display during their games all afternoon long. Their play together on the AAU circuit is something we’ve covered before, but the chemistry between the two was on center stage Sunday.
“We’ve probably been playing AAU (together) since third grade. So, we have a lot of the chemistry down, and we just feed off of each other,” said Young. “We work out, we workout together. A bunch of that stuff.”
“We’re great friends off the court, too, so that builds the bond and chemistry pretty well. And we work out all the time together, and that gets the chemistry up,” Dobbs added.
Big Shots tweeted the players’ stats after multiple contests on Sunday. They weren’t the only local players to show out, though.
Corey Boulden won the three-point shooting contest. Lamar Hurst got multiple Big Shots instructors’ and organizers’ attention with a pair of dunks.
Staten also noticed the hard work of the local products.
“I’m just happy to see guys who I work out actually standing out out here. The skills looking good. So, you know, that makes me feel good. But I’m just proud of these guys, I’m happy for them, and I hope that they get everything that they’re trying to get out of this camp,” said the former two-time all-Big 12 guard.
Staten is directly familiar with some of the players who were on hand on a personal level, as they work out with him individually.
We’ll have more on that subject coming up on Monday.