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Players hone hardwood skills at Tribe Youth Basketball Camp

BURBANK — Jagger Green is a perfect example of why the organizers of the Tribe Youth Basketball Camp have hosted a series of events the past four years at Burroughs High.

Green, 13, admits he "wasn't very good" at basketball when he attended his first camp in 2011.

"There was a lot I couldn't do," Green said. "Basketball was hard for me, but I just kept trying."

Through his participation in the camps, which are organized by Burroughs coaches Adam Hochberg and Vicky Oganyan, Green has been able to hone his skills and admits he has improved a great deal over the last few years.

"I just started learning more about basketball and listening to what the coaches were telling me," Green said. "I just started really trying to put in a good effort and that's what helped me get better. Now, I can do a lot of things better than I used to do when I first started."

The camp director is Jay Bandele, who has been running various basketball events for more than 15 years. He said the progression of players like Green is one of the benefits he gets out of running the camps.

"Jagger is one of those players who first came in and he struggled a bit," Bandele said. "But he has improved and you can see that things are just about starting to click for him. Since I first started these camps four years ago, I'm just amazed at how much better he is.

"When you can see a player improve like that or see things finally starting to click on the basketball court where it might not have before, that is very fulfilling."

The first session of the Tribe Youth Basketball Camp concluded Thursday and a second session will begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday at Burroughs High. There will also be a third session July 14-16. If players are not registered for any of the two upcoming sessions, they can show up the morning of the first day and sign up on the spot.

In this week's session, players received a healthy dose of basketball from the two Indians coaches, Bandele, current Burroughs players and former players who stopped by to help instruct the campers. Among those Burroughs graduates who stopped by were former players Lawrence White, Aysia Shellmire and Tyler Newton, a former University of the Pacific player and Burroughs Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.

In the camp, which featured 80 boys and girls ages 6-13, players were instructed in basketball skills like shooting, dribbling, passing and playing defense. They are also put through exercises to help strengthen their core. In addition, players were put into teams and got the opportunity to play in games.

"What's been great is that we have a lot of players who come to more than one session and they also come back year after year," said Hochberg, who coaches the Indians boys' team. "That is really nice to see. It really tells us that we are doing something right for the amount of kids who come back to rejoin us every year.

"It's also nice to see how they have grown and gotten better."

The idea for starting the camps came from Hochberg. When he first approached Oganyan about the possibility, she admitted she was reluctant at first.

"I really wasn't sure at first," said Oganyan, who coaches the Burroughs girls' team. "It was all Adam's idea and when he first came to me I was like 'Oh really? You want to start a basketball camp?' But it's gone really well and we've been able to grow over the years."

With current Burroughs players helping out and coaching the various teams, the campers were able to enjoy a complete basketball experience at the camp.

"I have been coming here since I was 8 years old and I like to come here because it's a really fun experience and you can really learn a lot about basketball," said Isaiah Cruz, 10. "After you go to this camp and you learn things you can go out and when you play basketball against other people you can show them what you got. I know I have improved my skills since I've been coming to the camp."

Said 10-year-old Sadie Demmert: "I like it because I learn more and I have a lot of fun with my friends who come. This is my first time and I was a little nervous at first because I didn't know who was coming. But a lot of my friends came and that made me feel a lot better."


Follow Jeff Tully on Twitter: @jefftsports.

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