LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — All year long fans pack the La Cañada High gym for boys' basketball games. Come summertime, the Spartans have a small chance to give back at the annual Spartan Basketball Summer Camp.
The annual camp run by La Cañada boys' basketball Coach Tom Hofman for the past 27 years puts current and former Spartans players as the camp counselors, allowing them to work hand-in-hand with some of their young fans.
"It's definitely a chance to give back," said Mason Holle, a 2011 La Cañada High graduate who was the Spartans starting point guard when they won the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA championship. "Last year when we played we had a lot of fun and the fans were a big part of our success. It is a good opportunity to give back if you have the time. I think the community enjoys that we have this camp, along with all the other [camps] here at La Cañada High."
Campers from kindergarten through eighth grade get a fundamental base for the game of basketball at the Spartan Basketball Summer Camp, which focuses on basic skills like ball-handling, footwork, defense, teamwork and basic shooting technique.
"It's a fundamental camp," said Hofman of the three-session camp, which also serves as a fundraiser for the La Cañada boys' basketball program and ran Monday through Friday. It started June 25, picked back up July 9 and began its final week Monday. "We are trying to basically impart really simple skills on offense and defense. We are trying to keep it simple. These are things they can go home and do to practice."
Conner Boyd, who graduated in June and served as the La Cañada center this season, said players of all skill levels show up to the camp, though.
"Tom is teaching them stuff that he still teaches us as varsity players with all the dribbling, spin moves and he is also showing them the fundamentals, which is good," Boyd said.
Since Boyd was in first grade, summers have meant spending at least one week at the Spartan Basketball Summer Camp.
"When I was a camper it was the thing to do over the summer," he said. "I sometimes went for multiple weeks just because it was a fun thing to do."
Conner Schulz, a 13-year old camper and incoming eighth grader at La Cañada High, said he comes to the camp because he hopes to one day play Spartans basketball.
"It is really helpful [learning from the coaches] because you know they know what it's like being in a situation playing on a varsity team," Schulz said.