The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Peter Stein
Staff Writer 

School of basketball

Crockett's camp teaching skills and the fundamentals


Jamie Cushman

John Royal IV, age 10, dribbles around Dylan Rhoden, also age 10, during a ball-handling drill, part of the Jaye Rock Athletics fifth annual basketball camp Tuesday morning at Yucca Middle School.

CLOVIS - Jaye Crockett and Teya Morris have a few things in common.

They both graduated from Clovis High School after stellar basketball careers.

They each chose Texas colleges at which to continue those careers.

And they've both been at Yucca Middle School this week to teach kids ages 6 through 17 either the fundamentals of basketball or ways to improve their already-evolving skills.

Tuesday was Day 2 of 3 for Crockett's Jaye Rock Athletics fifth annual basketball camp at Yucca. Whether the kids attending could dribble behind their backs - and some could - or were too young to do more than flail their arms wildly while running up and down the court, they all seemed to be having a good time and soaking up basketball educations.

They had plenty of adult supervision guiding the former, with Crockett's grandmother Bestella Gardner among his family members helping out. And the attendees had several good teachers for the latter, including Crockett and Morris. Since playing four years at Texas Tech, Crockett has had a successful pro career in Europe. Morris will soon be off to the University of Texas-Permian Basin, playing Division II ball in the Lone Star Conference.

That's a lot of basketball expertise to offer the kids. And lots of fun for the instructors.

"It's good," Morris said. "The kids work hard and they're really excited to be working with Jaye. He's a role model."

The 6-11 year-olds attend in the morning, the older kids in the afternoon. What began as a nice idea has turned into a full-fledged summer basketball camp.

"My first year out of college I just posted something on Facebook," Crockett recalled. "I was like, 'Hey, I'm going to be at the high school and do a camp. Any kids want to come?' And we had like 30 total show up. I told them to bring their own balls. Then the next year we just kind of planned it a little better, brought the balls and shirts and made it a little bit more official. And from then on we just kept doing it."

It's sort of a basketball wonderland for the attendees.

"Passing, shooting, defense," Morris said. "We do it all."

"Then we play games at the end," Crockett said, "because that's what they ask for all the time."

Noah Patterson, age 11 and coach Aaron Ross prepare to shoot to begin the final round of a game of knockout during the Jaye Rock Athletics annual basketball camp Tuesday morning at Yucca Middle School.

As the days pass, the counselors see what they're teaching slowly being absorbed by the young minds.

"And they get more comfortable," Crockett said. "Because at first we get some kids who don't even want to hop in some of the drills, so it's like Competition 101 or something. They just sit back and they're quiet. But as they go, they start talking more. Sometimes they start acting a little worse; they're starting to climb up the bleachers, they're in their comfort zone."

By the second day, according to Crockett, they're way in that zone, which is the reason his camp is now three days long.

"Last year I did two days," he said, "and that second day, that's when you start seeing them get more comfortable. And they want to come back for another one, so that's why I did a three-day camp. Two was going too fast. By the second one, they were ready to start playing, but they didn't have enough days."

Basketball education-wise, the more days the better.


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