An annual South Dakota summer basketball staple is taking a one-year hiatus.
The Hansen-Anderson Basketball Camp, which dates back to 1979, has been impacted by COVID-19 and will not take place this summer. It usually ran for three days each July.
“It’s disappointing a little bit because it’s so fun to do,” said camp co-director Chris Gubbrud. “However, we will be back next summer and we will get to do it again. It’s just a temporary bump in the road.”
It’s a temporary bump for the state’s longest-running basketball camp. The camp was founded in 1979 by Dick Hansen and was led for years with high school coaches from around the state, starting in Huron before moving to Mitchell and the Dakota Wesleyan University campus.
It’s been a common occurrence in Gubbrud’s summer for decades. He attended the camp as a player, helped coach it and took over as owner/operator in 2017.
“It’s strange,” Gubbrud said about the camp’s absence. “But it’s fitting for the times. Everything is strange and there’s a lot of unsure things.”
Gubbrud, who shares co-owner/operator duties with Erik Skoglund, said it will be different not having the camp. But the health and safety of everybody involved is at the forefront.
“Above everything you want it to be a fun and safe experience,” Gubbrud said. “There’s just no way I can guarantee that to anybody right now. Regardless of how anybody feels about COVID, I wouldn’t feel right. Even if we had the opportunity to do it right now, I would just really struggle to do that.”
Gubbrud and Skoglund were camp clinicians, while former Kernel and ex-South Dakota State University standout Macy Miller was also expected to assist. Current Mitchell High School assistant boys basketball coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt was going to help coach the camp.
The camp focuses on skill development and the three-day camp was open to boys and girls ages 4-12. It also housed players at the DWU dorms and provided meals.
The recent movement for basketball camps has gone to one-day clinics for a few hours at a time. That push, along with traveling basketball teams, has slightly diminished the prominent feel of the Hansen-Anderson camp in recent years.
“We are usually around 50 kids, which is pretty far from 20 years ago when there would be four different Hansen-Anderson camps,” Gubbrud said. “But with summer travel basketball and individual workouts, and kids not being able to commit to three days in the summer -- which is not a criticism -- it’s just the lives that kids are leading right now has really taken away from that.”
Gubbrud and Skoglund have also done satellite camps in recent years. But Gubbrud doesn’t have the time to invest in promoting the camps, with his priority shifting toward opening school in the fall. Gubbrud is the principal at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School.
In the meantime, he’s encouraging players to hone their basketball skills themselves this summer.
“The hope is that everybody stays safe and everyone gets to kind of develop their basketball skills this summer on their own,” Gubbrud said. “We would love to see everybody next summer when (the camp) comes back around.”