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Southwest High boys basketball camp: Players take the role of coach

July 18, 2001|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

Southwest High School boys basketball coach Marty Zwart and his team found a way to raise needed funds and help the community at the same time.

A basketball camp is being conducted this week in the Eagles Nest in El Centro for young basketball players who needed a cool place to go and keep active.

"A lot of kids out here are good," said Nate LaBoy, a junior point guard for Southwest's varsity. "They just didn't know they were good until they got out here."

LaBoy, a 16-year-old El Centro resident, said he likes to watch younger kids improve throughout the week.

"If they come out here and try hard," LaBoy said, "they can learn a lot."

LaBoy, who lived in Fresno and Pennsylvania before moving to El Centro, said he knows from personal experience that basketball camps can be helpful.


"When you go and watch someone, you try to do what they do," LaBoy said.

He added he attended a camp at San Diego State University with the Aztec basketball team and learned a great deal about basketball from working with the older players.

"It helps them get a little better, work as a team and get more control when they're playing," said Steve Baxter, a senior guard/forward for the Eagles.

"It helps me as a person," said Baxter of working at the camp.

He added he likes to see the kids work hard and enjoys seeing improvement in their performance throughout the week.

"It helps me understand what (coaches) go through to try to teach us," Baxter said. "It gives me a chance of wanting to be a coach."

Beau Vasquez, a sophomore point guard for Southwest, said he has a good time helping the young players.

"They're here with people their own age, so they feel more comfortable," Vasquez said. "They have fun and they learn things they've never learned before."

Vasquez said the camp is good for the younger kids because it keeps them busy and allows them time to meet new friends and spend time with others they already knew.

"I just think it's a great opportunity. You never forget this stuff," said LaBoy, adding he hopes when the players get older they remember his teachings at the camp.

Drills the Southwest players work on with the kids address coordination, jump stops, pivoting, defensive slides and dribbling.

Baxter said of the camp, "It helps them play as a team."

LaBoy and Baxter agreed they had noticed small improvements in the participants, although the camp was only in its second day.

"There's a lot of nice little talent," LaBoy said.

Added Baxter, "I think as they get better, they want to keep playing."

"I think Coach Z is a good coach," LaBoy said of Zwart. "He knows what he's doing.

"He works with us the whole year. He gives everybody a fair chance," he added.

Zwart said he likes to have his players work with the youngsters.

"It's nice to have the young guys out here," Zwart said.

He added he thinks it is a good opportunity for his players to get inside a coach's shoes.

"It makes you appreciate what (Zwart) does for us," LaBoy agreed.

The fee is $30 per camper and funds go toward room and board costs for the Southwest team during tournaments and road trips.

The camp runs from 1 to 4 p.m. through Friday.

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