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Go camping with the Herd this summer


By Butch Cooper


Thundering Herd players work with campers at a past basketball camp. Courtesy photo

Have a child looking to improve his or her game on the court?

Whether it’s shooting, ball handling, defense or some other aspect, summer camps can be a valuable tool for the up-and-coming basketball player.

At the Marshall University Men’s Basketball summer camps, they take it to another level, adding a bit of a personal feel between the Thundering Herd players and campers.

“These kids have a relationship with our players,” said Neal Scaggs, director of Basketball Operations and camp organizer. “Some of our guys have gone out and watched some biddy league and youth games.

“Kids from camp still remember some of our guys and our guys still remember some of those kids from camp. That’s what camps are all about, the friendships that are built there.”

Scaggs remembers one example involving senior guard Austin Loop.

“There’s a kid that Austin Loop knows really well that has been coming to camp now for four years,” Scaggs recalled. “Austin has been over to see him play some youth games. He’ll wear Austin’s jersey to every game. It’s just a bond between our players. That’s invaluable.”

Once again, Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni will work with kids at the camps this summer.

D’Antoni, a West Virginia native, brings with him both college and NBA coaching experience. However, it might be his youth days in the southern part of the state than make him perfect for working with youth,

“It’s never too early to learn the fundamentals of the game,” Scaggs said. “Growing up around Mullens, (D’Antoni) was out going to little camps and whatever they had back in those days. It’s certainly invaluable for kids to hear from a college basketball coach.

“Coach is great working with them. Between recruiting and everything, he still makes time to come down there. I think the older kids appreciate that more.”

There will be the Herd Camp and a Little Herd Camp and a sibling discount will be available for those bringing two or three children.

“This is the first year we have incorporated a sibling discount,” Scaggs said.

• The Herd Camp will take place June 26-29 for ages 7 to 17. It costs $175 per child. There will be a sibling discount with a cost of $330 for two players and $465 for three.

• The Little Herd Camp will be held from July 10-13 for children in fifth through seventh grades, with a cost of $135 per child. The sibling discount is $250 for two players and $345 for three.

“In the morning, there will be a pep talk and drills,” Scaggs explained. “Then there will be stations with dribbling, passing, shooting ... all of the basic fundamentals. There will be a lunch break and, in the afternoon, it’s our fun time, with different kinds of games like 5-on-5 and what kids like.”

The camps will also have theme days, with Jersey Day (wear your favorite sports jersey) on Tuesday, Green-Out Day (wear kelly green from head to toe) on Wednesday and Camp Shirt Day on Thursday. Campers with the best outfits will win prizes.

Also on Thursday at 11:30 a.m., there will be an awards ceremony to wrap things up. Marco the Marshall mascot will make an appearance and there will be photo and autograph opportunities with Marco and the Herd players.

To sign up for the camp, go online to, go to the men’s basketball page and seek out the camps.

For more information, call Scaggs at 304-696-3586 or email him at


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