Loutzenheiser Leads His First Sports Camp

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Payson High School boys basketball coach Mike Loutzenheiser and a contingent of aspiring young players traveled to Prescott June 14 where they will participate in the week-long Arizona Sports Camp.

Loutzenheiser will be coaching in his first Arizona Sports Camp and said he was looking forward to the opportunity.

During the camp, the youngsters reside in a Yavapai College student dormitory, have their meals in the college cafeteria and practice in the college gymnasium.

For many of the youngsters, it will be their first exposure to a college-like atmosphere.

Arizona Sports Camp, one of the oldest in the state, has a reputation of teaching the fundamentals of the game while maintaining strict discipline.

In two-a-day sessions, the campers work on their passing, dribbling, shooting, rebounding and defensive skills. At the conclusion of the camp, coaches evaluate each of the campers and tell them what they need to work on to become even better players.

Winning without egos

The surprising Detroit Pistons are rapidly proving that you can win without superstars and super egos.

The L.A. Lakers have a coach who has won nine NBA championships and three of the greatest players in the game --Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant --ut the L.A. team trails the Pistons 3-1.

While the Lakers seem focused on being sure O'Neal and Bryant score their usual 20 to 30 points a game, the Pistons rely on depth, defense and ball movement for victories. And, they get all that from a roster of players that most fans had never heard of until the series began.

Check out the box scores from the Piston 88-80 win Sunday evening. O'Neal had 36 and Bryant 20 but no other Lakers even came close to scoring in double figures.

Detroit turned in a well-balanced effort in which Rasheed Wallace tallied 26, Chauncey Billups contributed 23 and Richard Hamilton lit up Gary Payton for 17 points.

The hustling Pistons also out-rebounded the Lakers 45-38 and committed 15 fewer personal fouls.

About the only thing the Pistons didn't execute to perfection were free throws. Detroit hit just 28 of 41 attempts. But that's OK -- the Lakers cashed in on just 11 of 22 mostly because O'Neal was 4 for 11 from the line.

To say the Pistons were heavy underdogs when the championship series opened would be an understatement.

But their determination and unselfishness has them on the verge of being the first Eastern Conference team to win the NBA crown since Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to the 1998 title.

Remembering Jack, and a miscue

Many former teammates and coaches of Jack Morris will participate June 19 in the inaugural Jack Morris Memorial Payson High School Football Booster Club Golf Tournament.

Among those traveling to Payson for the benefit will be Jack's best friend, Mark Velasco, who now lives in Flagstaff.

Early in the week, Mark told me he has schemed a prank to pull on boys basketball coach Mike Loutzenheiser who played with Jack and Mark on the Longhorns' 1986 state football runner-up team.

That season, Mike was playing wide receiver in a midseason game against Bourgade when the usually sure-handed player dropped a perfectly thrown pass from quarterback Ty Goodman. At the time, Mike was wide open and could have walked into the end zone.

It's been 18 years since the dropped pass, but Mike's former teammates have never let him forget it.

It seems Mark has dug out an old tape of the KMOG radio broadcast of the Bourgade game. Saturday, he plans to play the tape to the exact moment when Mike dropped the pass. When he picks up Mike early in the morning for the tournament, he'll flick the tape player on so Mike can relive the agony of his miscue.

Proceeds from the tournament will be donated to the booster club and to an annual college scholarship fund in the memory of Morris. The scholarship will be awarded each year to a graduating senior who is continuing his/her education. The scholarship awards will begin with the class of 2005.

Morris, 34, was the Longhorns' offensive/defensive line coach. He died Feb. 23 of complications from a stroke.

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