Summer basketball camp will be held in August in Barrie
Next Level Basketball is entering its fourth summer as a camp to help hoopsters entering grades 5-12 improve their game. The week-long programs run from July 28-Aug. 1 (boys only) and from Aug. 4-8 at Georgian College. SUBNMITTED
Four years ago, a group of young teachers with a basketball pedigree decided to start up a summer camp.
And now, it has grown into a large, well-run local program.
Next Level Basketball is entering its fourth summer as a camp to help hoopsters entering grades 5-12 improve their game.
“We have a wide range of kids with our summer camps and spring academies, and really, we’re just hoping to provide them with an environment where they can learn, they can have fun, and they can compete,” said Next Level co-founder Scott Seeley.
“Hopefully, by the time they’re done in our programs, they’ve had fun and want to continue to (play) basketball," he added, "and secondly, that their skill level is a bit better than where it started.”
While the camp is called Next Level, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the focus is exclusively on athletes looking to play post-secondary hoops.
“If we get a Grade 4 (student) that’s just starting out and has never played before, but came to camp and now is excited about basketball and has learned a thing or two, then that’s just as good as someone who’s in Grade 11 or 12 and is going to go on and play at college or university,” Seeley said.
The camp is run by six directors, all of whom are teachers, but bring far more than just experience working with kids to the pair of week-long programs.
Seeley, Jeff Rosar, Matt Rosar, Dan Eves, Paul Zyla and Brad Smith played university basketball in Ontario, with seven all-star nominations, a handful of national tournament appearances and even a pro contract between them.
“That’s a big thing for us,” Seeley said. “There’s not a lot of camps that have that many guys that have played that high.
“Kyle Julius (who is arguably the most well-known trainer for basketball players in Canada right now) came in to our camp and said it’s very unique to have as many guys as we have that played at such a high level," he added.
Seeley and his fellow directors are still young enough that they can teach the skills directly.
“I’d say that probably the biggest advantage we have is that we can get on the court with the kids and demonstrate what we’re asking them to do,” Seeley said.
With the directors coaching local basketball during the year as well, they would all like to see things done properly.
“There’s a lot of stuff that gets taught from generation to generation that isn’t necessarily correct,” Seeley said. “It’s just the way, because they were taught that way.
“We’re trying to go back and do things that we’ve learned properly since and try to pass that on to the kids.”
While running the camp, which features a week exclusively for boys followed by a co-ed week, cuts into their own summer vacation, they’ve never looked at it that way.
“Growing up, I was a gym rat and pretty much developed the skills, and that’s what I love to do,” Seeley said. “We enjoy being on the court, we enjoy teaching the game, coaching the game and some of us still play it.
“We don’t see it as cutting into our vacation time,” Seeley added. “We just felt that we’re young enough and want to give back and we all had coaches who helped us, so it was our chance to give back and pass on what we’ve learned growing up and have learned since.”
The week-long programs run from July 28-Aug. 1 (boys only) and from Aug. 4-8 at Georgian College.
There are also a number of guest coaches that will attend, ranging from local stars that are set to play college or university basketball in the fall to Tammy Sutton-Brown, a two-time Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) all-star who will come in for the day during the co-ed week.
“She’s recently retired, but she was a mainstay on the national team and played (12) years in the WNBA,” Seeley said. “It’s not too often you get someone like that around, so it’ll be a pretty big deal.”