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Camp starts summer activities for basketball Jays

There’s little doubt the Jefferson City basketball team is going to be busy this summer.

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Ethan DuBois works on a ball handling skill during Wednesday’s session at Jefferson City High School’s boys basketball youth camp.

Jays head coach Blair Thompson is hopeful the work being done now will start to show up in the win column when winter rolls around.

The Jays opened up summer activities this week with its youth and high school camps at Fleming Fieldhouse.

“If a kid sits around from March to November, and doesn’t do anything, it’s going to be tough for them,” Thompson said. “Individually, it’s very important for kids to stay involved, stay active.”

Thompson and his coaching staff plan to take full advantage of the 25 contact days with the team. The Jays will play in the Warrensburg Shootout and will go to the University of Central Missouri team camp later this summer.

On June 15-16 Jefferson City and Helias will host the Capital City Summer Hoops Classic which will feature two full days of games at eight different facilities.

“It went really well last year,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he was pleased with the turnout for his two camps. Grades 4-8 met for four hours each day this week, giving the coaching staff more time to work on fundamentals as well as take time out for basketball-related fun.

Approximately 90 kids showed up for the camp, which Thompson said is an increase from previous seasons. He said about 50 kids showed up for the high school camp.

“We have the opportunity to get a lot more done from a fundamental standpoint,” Thompson said. “And then from a fun kind of competitive standpoint, we do a lot of fun things. It’s been a good camp so far.”

Thompson, who is entering his third season as Jefferson City’s head coach, said he felt like his team made strides last season, even if it didn’t show up in the win column. The Jays finished last season 8-15 but had five losses by five points or less. A tough schedule that included a game against eventual state champion Rockhurst and three games against Hickman, which reached the Final Four, was a learning experience for the Jays.

“I think we made a giant step in the right direction last year,” Thompson said. “Somebody from the outside may not see it. Us that are here everyday did.”

While the start of the season is months away, a large turnout at camp could be considered a good sign for the future.

“We’re really pleased with our turnout this summer,” Thompson said. “I think it’s a sign that we’re doing some things the right way. We just hope to continue to build on that and take everything we’re doing this summer and move it into the fall, and keep it going right into the winter. I think if we do that, we’ll be in good shape. Right now, we’re just getting guys ready to see who can do what. That’s all it really is.”

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