All work, more play

Published 5:40 pm Wednesday, June 3, 2009

For a small basketball program trying desperately to find some success, paying for and traveling to large team camps in the summer can be impractical.

So, Verbena is doing the next best thing: the Red Devils are bringing the camp to them.

Verbena this summer will host three “Play Days,” which will feature 18 teams and give the Devils some valuable experience.

“It gets almost another season of experience in,” Verbena coach Jonathan Shedd said. “As young as we are, we need all the experience we can get.”

The Alabama High School Athletic Association allows summer competitions, but not all coaches choose to use the entire allotment—or any of it.

Verbena went winless in Shedd’s first season but lost no players to graduation. So, Shedd made it a priority for his players to get lots of work in during the offseason.

The first idea, however, turned out not to be a good one.

“When I mentioned team camp, they said, ‘What’s that?’” Shedd said.

A typical camp charges a $200 team fee and then a fee per player. Verbena, meanwhile, will charge only $60 per team, to cover the cost of officials.

Shedd said he advertised the dates on the state Department of Education Web site, and the reception was overwhelming. Teams like Chilton County High and Clay-Chalkville will visit on June 15, when games are scheduled from 9 a.m. until 6:45 p.m.

All dates—the other two are June 9 and June 11—are free and open to the public, and concessions will be available.

The Red Devils will also visit B.B. Comer on June 18 and Holtville on June 26.