ST. PETERSBURG — The first Elevation Basketball Camp for elementary, middle and high school students was a slam dunk success Sat. and Sun., Aug 1-2 at the Thomas “Jet” Jackson Recreation Center. The two-day basketball training evaluation event was put together by Sean Morrison who works for the Parks and Recreation Dept. for the City of St. Petersburg.
Morrison’s goal was to come up with an end to summer project that would be fun, educational, safe and positive for the kids.
“Since I work for the city, I knew what I had to do to make this happen for the kids,” said Morrison.
Children started pouring into the professionally equipped gym to sign up as soon as the doors opened at 9 a.m. Saturday. Girls as well as boys came out to sharpen their hoop skills.
The coaches started the event by gathering the students together to welcome them and to expose them to what would be happening over the two-day period. Next, the young people were divided into six exercise drill lines, and the 20-minute warm-ups began.
“Let’s go, move it!” “Pick those feet up!” “Squat lower!” “Hold the position longer,” was what could be heard.
What might have seemed like an eternity for some of the young and gifted athletes was no more than 20 minutes as the commands continued.
At around 10 a.m. the coaches divided the participants into four groups: defensive skills drills, offensive dribble and shoot exercises, strength and endurance training and scrimmage games rounded out the first day of activities.
Sunday started similarly to Saturday except the kids’ performances on the court was being individually evaluated. At the end of the day, 13 participants received awards in various categories:
• Serrel Smith and Bryce Brown received the Elevation Camp MVP award for overall performance excellence.
• Eric James and Coby Quarterman received King of Court Awards.
• The three Hot Shot Champions were L. James, M. Johnson, and J. Newsome.
• Elevation Knock Out Champions were L. Woods and J. Baud.
• The 3-Point Champions were M. Curry and Corey Quarterman.
• R. Harris won the Free Throw Award, and L. Speights won the Agility MVP Award.
Morrison said the kids only get three months out of the year to play against each other at the centers in the city. However, his aspirations reach beyond the boundaries of St. Petersburg.
“One day I’d like to see us playing kids in other cities across the Tampa Bay area, such as Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, Tampa and maybe even outside of this metro area,” concluded Morrison.
The coaches who worked alongside Morrison to make the first Elevation Basketball Camp a success by signing up over 70 applicants were Mike Morrison, Tracy Parks, Reggie Reed, Marcus Morrison, Kory Crumbly, Darrien Mack, Anthony “Bubba” OGunli, Ed Rolax and Geno Green.
Morrison views sports as a positive way to help young people develop citizenship, teamwork skills and motivation to do well in life.
If you are interested in signing your son or daughter up for next year’s Elevation Camp and sports activities throughout the year, please call (727) 686-0994.