Summer camps are still in full swing and the Tarleton Texan Elite Camp is proving by numbers alone just how influential the program is, not only in the Cross Timbers area, but in the state of Texas.
“We have 151 campers this time around,” said Tarleton associate head basketball coach Chris Reisman. “That’s the highest total that I can recall since the early 1990s. We weren’t expecting that many. We typically average anywhere from 120 to 130 kids and it’s been exciting.”
The increase in the number of campers could likely be credited to several factors. Tarleton has made back-to-back Elite Eight appearances and are known historically to be a national power house. But that isn’t all, Reisman also says that it’s what the camp entails that is also bringing back players who have attended previously.
“I think it’s a combination of a few things, including the basketball program’s success as of late. They’ve been in the public eye a bit more than previous teams,” he said. “But when I ask campers to raise their hands if they’ve attended before there is a large amount that have been here before and know how the camp runs. This is one of the few camps where we still do stations and work on fundamentals and hold specific contests like one-on-one, hot shot and an obstacle course. It’s more than just playing games against one another.”
The competitive nature built at the Texan Elite Camp is also another factor that makes it stand out.
“The elite camp just brings more competition together. Since we’ve instituted it, it’s brought more of the competitive players out. These are individuals who want to make their varsity or junior high teams. They come here because they know it’s going to be competitive. Even our (Tarleton basketball players) guys who work the camp enjoy that aspect of it. You can tell that the kids who attend are serious about improving.”
The campers aren’t the only ones who benefit from the camp. Also in attendance, as previously mentioned by Reisman, are several Texan players who offer instruction of their own.
“I think it allows us to just work with one another. The team is building camaraderie while working with the kids,” said Reisman. “They’re around each other and they’re seeing some of the drills and it’s the same things that we teach. I think more than anything though is that it’s a way for us to give back to the community. These players have started bonding with the community and I think it’s great not only for Tarleton, but Stephenville and the Cross Timbers area as well.”
In closing, the Texans know it isn’t a ‘one man’ show. Tarleton is only what it is with the community that is around it and Reisman thanks those who support the team and allow their young basketball players to attend the camp.
“We just really appreciate the community, not just Stephenville, but the Cross Timbers area,” said Reisman. “Year after year we receive support from the community and we’re drawing fans and campers from further out and extending our fan base. We thank the parents for allowing us to work with their kids and we hope they continue to come back.”