The Bears are watching

UPike coach Kelly Wells speaks at a press conference earlier this year. The Bears hosted their annual summer basketball camp in which Tug Valley participated in. The camps give Wells and his staff an opportunity to see the area youth play.

In the midst of the three week summer basketball period, UPike hosted its annual team camp that played host to over 50 teams this year.

The camp is a good place for high school kids to get noticed by Wells and see a little bit of UPike’s campus as well.

“This is the camps 13th year running and it started out as a pretty minor thing with eight teams the first year we did this,” Wells said. “We have many reasons why we do this, but it has expanded from eight teams the first year to 52 teams this year.”

Like every great recruiter there is always another reason.

“Selfishly for us it helps us in recruiting,” Wells said. “We get an opportunity to put our eyeballs on different players from different places.”

Wells also talked about how important it was from a competition standpoint to see players “evolve” and get better.

“From the other perspective, for the teams coming in it gives them different competition and they aren’t playing the same teams all the time,” Wells said. “You get so heated and competitive you really don’t want that on a summer team, you really want to grow and get better.”  

The Camp brought teams from around the tri-state, including teams from Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, and even Ohio.

Tug Valley got to get some work in with newly hired coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson.

The camp gives coaches an early look at their squads and gives them ample time to prepare for the upcoming season. The camp also allows teams to see competition from other states and helps coaches prepare for any curve balls throughout the season.

“We aren’t giving away any trophies or championships during this because it is truly about growing and getting better, so to able to see teams from different locations is a blessing,” Wells elaborated.

The way the team camp is ran is a true example of the hard work that UPike and the surrounding schools put in to make sure these young athletes have the chance to grow and show what they are made of.

The camp was hosted in four different gyms, the UPike’s gym, Pikeville High School, Mullins Middle School, and Pike Central High School.

Coach Wells gave a huge “Thank you,” to the schools who contributed and said, “It’s because of their collaboration that this has been able to grow over time.”

So if you’re a coach bring your team to compete, grow and simply get better. If your a player, bring your “A” game because the Bears are watching and any opportunity to impress college suitors is the best opportunity so always be ready, you may get the call.   

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