ST. JOSEPH, Missouri — Young Missouri Western basketball fans are joining the Griffons on the hardwood this summer.

The Youth Basketball Skills Camps led by Western coach Sundance Wicks returned to MWSU Fieldhouse on Monday for the second consecutive summer.

“We got a lot of kids who are starting to understand what it means to bring the juice. We want them to have a lot of fun,” Wicks said.

The camps are made up of three different sessions. This week, the kids are learning on the development of fundamental basketball skills like passing, ball-handling, scoring, and rebounding.

“It was really fun,” 10-year-old camper Evan Parksel said. “They teach us a lot.”

Parksel attended last year’s camp, but it was his 5-year-old brother Noah’s first time learning from the Griffons.

“It was cool,” Noah Parksel said.

Coaching alongside Wicks throughout the camps are 13 of his players.

“That just shows the commitment of our guys who want to be around our team, to be around our program and to be around the community,” Wicks said. “It’s another chance for them to give back to the community.”

Western sophomore Tyree Martin continues to recover from an injury, but he didn’t let that stop him from teaching at camp again this summer.

“All these kids here you will see them this season right behind us, right behind the bench calling your name,” Martin said. “They all remember you and you remember them.”

The second and third sessions of camp will focus on the basics of shooting. The offensive-oriented part of camp will run from June 17 to 19 and July 11 to 13.

Wicks said it is crucial to teach young players how to shoot a basketball.

“It’s a lost art and they are moving the three-point line back so kids have to continue to develop those routines at an early age,” Wicks said.

Wicks said throughout the summer, campers also will learn defensive awareness as well as overall offensive knowledge.

“They know our tradition, they know our chants and pretty soon they start learning the skills and drills better too,” Wicks said. “We’ll teach some skills and that’s a big part of it, but the biggest thing is keeping the joy and the love for the game for these guys and bringing the juice every single day.”

All three camps are available for ages pre-K to eighth grade.

Kristen Carver can be reached

at kristen.carver@newspressnow.com Follow her on Twitter: @NPNowCarver

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