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SMITH COLUMN: Outlaw's camp goes long way in helping kids

June 26, 2012


It's obvious that Travis Outlaw loves sharing the game he loves with the people of his hometown.

That's what the Elite Skills Basketball Camp is all about.

Starting on Tuesday and for the next two days, Outlaw, his family and friends have set up shop at Starkville Sportsplex gymnasium in the morning to teach and interact with those who want to learn more about basketball.

John Outlaw Jr., brother of Travis, is one of the main instructors for the camp and takes his responsibility seriously.

If children are serious enough about basketball to take part out of their summer to attend the camp, they want to provide the best experience possible.

"They love basketball enough that they want to come and learn basketball," John said. "That's what this was brought out for. Travis wanted the guys that wanted to learn basketball. They showed up and they are playing hard. I know they got a little tired at the end but what I told them was it's part of basketball, being able to deal with adversity. When you are down, tired and don't feel like doing it, you still have to do it."

Jesse Little, a player for Starkville Christian School, learned about the camp by seeing information on the bulletin board at the Sportsplex. He thought it might be beneficial to participate.

After the first day, Little could already tell a difference.

"I came to get better," Little said. "It helped because I got some better moves in and got to run some."

Campers were introduced to various drills on Tuesday to help with their individual game and the morning was climaxed by a scrimmage which got pretty competitive at times.

As the scrimmage progressed, the players received encouragement from Travis who could be seen coaching from the bench.

John Jr. and Leroy Hollingshed, one of Travis' teammates at Starkville High School, were officials during the scrimmage.

Everyone really seemed to be having a good time.

"If you can have fun while doing it, you can take it a lot further and learn a lot faster," John said.

On a somber note concerning basketball, it was with sadness that we learned Tuesday morning about the death of coach Joel Ewing.

Ewing was a valuable part of the SHS coaching staff as he worked at the junior high level.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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