Billy White Jr. remembers when things were much different.
Back when Copperas Cove’s head boys basketball coach began his career with the Bulldawgs nine years ago, summer camp was an afterthought. Kids simply were not interested.
“The first year I worked at the basketball camp here, I think we had a total of 17 kids,” White recalled, “And they weren’t all boys. We had a few girls in there as well.”
In the years since, however, the annual Bulldawg Basketball Camp has grown with approximately 180 boys attending in 2013, and White believes the number could still be rising thanks to Copperas Cove’s consecutive playoff appearances. Before last season, the Bulldawgs had not reached the postseason since 2008.
Furthermore, the program has seen several players achieve individual success by winning awards and signing to continue their careers at the collegiate level.
It all adds up to equal enthusiasm for the game, according to White.
“With the success we’ve experienced in the last couple of seasons, I think that has a lot to do with the growth of the camp,” he said. “It’s helped to get kids in Copperas Cove excited about playing basketball.”
This year’s camp will be held June 23-26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bulldawg Gymnasium and is available to boys entering first through ninth grade. There will be an award ceremony held on the final day, and cost is $65, which includes a T-shirt.
Pizza and sports drinks will be available to purchase each day and pictures can be bought for $10.
In addition to receiving instruction from White and the rest of the Bulldawgs’ coaching staff, former Copperas Cove players will be on hand to assist.
“That’s another good thing is that we have those former players who come back and give back,” White said.
While the camp is intended to teach the basic principles of the game, White also hopes he can instill a larger philosophy into each boy who attends.
“I just want them to understand that if they want to do something with this game, they have to work hard at it,” he said.
“Fundamentals are a big part of it, so what we try to teach during the week of camp are the fundamental skills and to work hard. … I want them to learn that every time they have an opportunity to get better, they take advantage of that opportunity.”
For more information, contact White at 254-547-2534, ext. 800.