DWU camp provides glimpse for next season
Forty two area high school girls basketball teams have converged on Mitchell for a two-day team camp hosted by Dakota Wesleyan University, an event that has continued to grow over the past several years.
DWU women's basketball coach Jason Christensen said he had to turn teams away this year for the camp that is set up to give coaches and players a glimpse into the next season with competitive games against similar talent.
Christensen said in his four seasons at DWU he has seen the camp grow from 22 teams to 30 last year to 42 this year.
Among the attendees are the 2013-14 Class AA state runner up Mitchell Kernels, who will have a new look in 2014-15 after the departure of Macy Miller and four other impact seniors that have graduated.
Mitchell coach Wes Morgan will have soon-to-be senior Taylor Volesky returning, but filling in the holes around her will be an ongoing process heading into next season.
"Taylor is going to be offensive oriented, but today she sparked us defensively," Morgan said. "The biggest thing for Taylor is going to be trusting the other kids."
The DWU camp gives Mitchell a chance to see what some of the younger girls can do against competition in a game-style scenario, according to Morgan. The Kernels played a scrimmage against Lemmon at the Christen Family Wellness Center Monday, with many new faces getting some competitive minutes on the floor.
"We have to learn how to play a full-court game with a whole new team being put together," Morgan said about the benefits of the DWU camp.
Also in attendance is 2013-14 Class B runner up Sanborn Central/Woonsocket, which returns a strong core from last year's team that finished one win shy of a state title.
"This gives us a chance to evaluate players and see how they are going to come together," Blackhawk coach Tim McCain said. "It's a great chance to play some competition we don't see during the year and work on some things."
The Blackhawks played Huron, a Class AA school, in a scrimmage Monday, in a game that would not be on the regular-season schedule. Putting teams in games against opponents they will not see during the high school season is one of the goals for Christensen.
The camp also gives Christensen an opportunity to see potential recruits in a different setting and against various types of opponents. Sanborn Central/Woonsocket's Morgan Selland has committed to play for DWU after high school and Christensen said he has offers out to four or five players in attendance at the camp.
"It gives me a chance to see these kids play in a summer setting," Christensen said. "Getting them here gives them an opportunity to get on campus and they get a chance to play basketball while they are here."
The DWU team camp continues at 9 a.m. today at various sites around Mitchell, including DWU, the armory, Mitchell Christian School, the Mitchell Recreation Center and Mitchell High School.