If Longhorn basketball coach Mike Loutzenheiser has his druthers, the June 14 to 18 session of Arizona Sports Camp will be a training ground for Rim country players to develop their abilities.
"I am hoping we can bring a large crowd of Payson basketball players to participate in the camp," the coach said in a camp invitation to aspiring athletes in grades 3 to 12. "I will be there the entire week to help younger athletes get acclimated and to work with all campers on an individual basis."
The camp is held on the campus of Embry Riddle University in Prescott.
Camp director Gary Ernst, the highly successful coach at Mesa Mountain View High School, is a part-time resident of Payson.
In addition to Ernst and Loutzenheiser, camp coaches will include Jerry Troutt (Peoria High School), Jay Troutt (Chandler), Don Shaver (Centennial), Gerald Lunt (Duncan) and Pat Reed (Corona del Sol).
Longtime NBA referee Tommy Nunez, author of "Taking My Best Shot," will be on hand to share his tales of growing up in the Phoenix barrio and becoming one of only 54 people in the United States who earn their living officiating in the NBA.
The camp, one of the oldest is Arizona, has a reputation of being one of the finest fundamental camps offered to young people.
The camp dates back to the 1960s when legendary high school coaches like Sammy Duane (Tempe High and Corona del Sol) was a director.
Loutzenheiser calls Arizona Sports Camp "a tremendous opportunity for a boy to improve his fundamentals, teamwork, and individual skills while making new friends in a fun and exciting environment."
The camp regime includes basketball sessions each day designed to improve players' shooting; dribbling, passing, footwork, rebounding and floor play without the ball.
Campers also participate in team scrimmages and some drills designed mostly for fun.
The college also has an outdoor swimming pool that campers may use in their off-hours. Ernst calls the camp "a week filled with learning, fun and sportsmanship."
He also says the camp emphasis on teamwork and fundamentals will help the players feel greater confidence when they step onto the court next season.
While attending, campers are housed in an air-conditioned campus dormitory and have three meals per day in the college cafeteria.
Rim Country Middle School eighth-grader Levi Neal has participated in past Arizona Sports Camps and calls them a great way to improve your basketball skills.
The camp registration fee is $335 which includes room, board, daily on-floor instruction sessions, classroom sessions, video-taped analysis, full-time trainer, T-shirt, films, use of the swimming pool and game room.
The camp has other sessions for boys June 21 to 25 and June 28 to July 2, but Loutzenheiser will not be coaching those camps.
A girls session of the camp is set for July 7 to 9.
For more information, call Loutzenheiser at (928) 474-2233 (high school) or (928) 474-8004 (home). Registration forms are available at the Roundup.