Missouri men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson and his staff hosted the Tigers annual Elite Camp Friday and Saturday.
At a cost of $50, some of the nation’s top talent had the opportunity to stay in an Wolpers residence hall as well as eat at the team training complex. Inside the arena, the coaching staff was involved in the education of each athlete. Student assistant Will Bartlett says the staff is the reason Missouri’s camp is so successful.
“Our staff is very hands-on with the kids,” Bartlett said. “Each camper will get an opportunity to interact with almost every coach.”
Camp started Friday with team stretching, and then the campers were split into six groups. Each group went to a station with an assistant coach and was taught some of basketball’s most fundamental lessons.
The athletes ran through layup lines, ball-handling exercises, passing and defense. However, assistant coach T.J. Cleveland said even those basic skills are different at the next level.
“What we try to teach here are the differences from high school to college,” Cleveland said. “It’s much faster and much more up-tempo. You have to work 10 times harder.”
The players were then split into teams and played three-vs-three basketball games. Coaches were quick to offer encouragement, as well as criticism.
Given Anderson’s aggressive style, the focus of the weekend was no surprise.
“Defense,” smiles Max Carrier, a 16-year-old from Rancho Verde High School in California. “It was all about defense.”
Finally, the campers were separated into teams and given the chance to play in games with officials and coaches. According to Cleveland, the camp is effective because much of it is identical to Missouri’s team practices.
“A lot of what we do is the same as our practice,” he said. “We can’t give away everything, though.”
Even with all the pressure, most of the athletes were unaffected by the high-profile coaches watching.
“We’ve been to camps before at USC and UCLA,” said Kevin Young, and 16-year-old from Perris High School in California. “We’re not intimidated by coaches anymore.”