Summer brings start of camps

University coaches continue annual summer camps for youth.

The dog days of summer are not a saying to which Gophers coaches subscribe. Two of those coaches are celebrating the start of summer by continuing what has become an annual tradition: summer camps. The Pam Borton Minnesota Girls Summer Basketball Camp has become a summer staple at the University. Now entering its seventh year, the summer camp, which is for girls from grades three through 12, has run since BortonâÄôs arrival as head coach of the womenâÄôs basketball program. Borton said the inspiration behind starting the camps was to bridge the link between the Minnesota program and the community, particularly children. âÄú[The goal is] to spend time around the campers and for them to see the quality of student athletes that we have here as players,âÄù Borton said. Allowing campers to get an inside look at how the Gophers program is run is an important part of the camps, she said. Borton offers multiple camps, and each camp focuses on a different skill set. Guard, post and team play are three focus areas during the camps. These different focuses are also benefiting more than just the campers. For new assistant coach Leigh Gregory , hired after the departure of assistant coach Marisa Moseley , post camp is a way to get acclimated to the Gophers system of instruction, as well as ready her for when practices with the team resume. âÄúItâÄôs kind of a good way for [Gregory] to learn how we teach post play,âÄù Director of Basketball Operations Abby Kalland said. âÄúThis is kind of her practice run for teaching individuals in skill drills.âÄù Skill drills and individual instruction are a big part of the camps. While Gophers coaches oversee the practice, many players work with the campers to provide individual instruction and practice. Brittany McCoy and Ashley Ellis-Milan were two of many Gophers seen giving instruction to the children. Having current Gophers work together during these camps helps create a bond not just between the campers, but also between the players, Borton said. âÄúI think for our current players that are here, itâÄôs just extra time that they can spend together,âÄù Borton said. âÄúThey get a chance to know each other a little better, and itâÄôs good bonding with the campers as well.âÄù For Dawn Timmerman, whose daughter has been attending these camps for five years, the interaction between Gophers players and campers is what keeps them coming back. âÄúThe coaches are friendly, the players are friendly. SheâÄôs learned a lot,âÄù she said. The camps culminate with the three-day Elite Camp, which allows for more than just instruction. âÄúWeâÄôre hoping to do a little bit of sightseeing in that camp.âÄù Borton said. The Elite Camp gives Borton and the rest of her staff a chance to look closely at players that she could be recruiting in the near future since all of the players are already in high school. Camps are normally held at Williams Arena but because of the current floor renovations, it is unavailable for this summer. While the University Sports Pavilion , recreation center and Field House are being used instead, Kalland acknowledges that not having Williams Arena is disappointing. âÄúIt is such a unique gym,âÄù she said. âÄúMore people talk about Williams than they might about the gym in Kansas or another university because this one is so unique. People die to play on it; itâÄôs fun.âÄù While summer basketball is going on inside, the Les Bolstad Golf Course is home to the Brad James Golf Academy. The academy features camps available for people of all different ages and skill levels. Junior camps provide instruction for those ages 8 to 18, and the adult camp provides instruction for those looking to improve their golf games. The College Golf Week , taking place June 21 to 25, is where Brad James hopes to recruit future Gophers golfers. Having the event on MinnesotaâÄôs home course serves as a recruiting advantage, he said. âÄúIt obviously helps,âÄù James said. âÄúWeâÄôve gotten a lot of players from camp to go to the University of Minnesota.âÄù