Payson Youth Can Learn Basketball From One Of The Best

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Bill Farrell, one of the finest prep coaches in Arizona basketball history, has agreed to present a town-hosted Spring Break Basketball Camp March 19 through March 22 in Wilson Dome.

Aspiring athletes in third- through eighth-grades are invited to attend the camp. The fee is $35 per camper and entrants receive a T-shirt if pre-registered and did not take part in the camp held last fall.

At that camp, which was conducted very similar to the upcoming spring session, Farrell stressed the fundamentals of the sport using what he calls “traditional” approaches. Others might glowingly label his strategies “old school.”

Farrell, and the PHS varsity basketball players who assisted, stressed proverbs like, “There is no ‘I’ in team” and “A chain is only as strong as the weakest link.”

The purpose of using the ages-old proverbs, Farrell says, is “to teach a philosophy they can use in basketball and in everyday challenges.”

In addition to stressing fundamentals and character development, Farrell and his assistants put the campers through daily drills designed to teach ball handling, defensive slides, shooting, pivots, jump stops, moving without the ball and rebounding.

The curriculum will also likely include the mental aspects of the game including attitudes — or “The Right Stuff” — which make the good player great and the role players who come off the bench to become tremendous assets to their team.

Farrell is one of the most recognized and respected names in prep basketball circles, having reaped about every coaching honor possible.

He was the state’s boys basketball coach of the year in 1995 and 1997 and has won numerous regional coach of the year honors.

At Paradise Valley High School, Farrell’s teams won two titles in three seasons in 4A, taking the 1995 and 1997 championships. The 1997 team finished 29-2 while the 1995 team went 29-4 and edged Cottonwood Mingus, 54-52, in the finale.

During his prep career, he coached three high school All-Americans and a state player of the year.

On Dec. 2, 2005, the Paradise Valley High School gymnasium was renamed in honor of Farrell.

He has also worked as an assistant director at the prestigious Phoenix Suns camps of John McLeod and Cotton Fitzsimmons.

To sign up, log on to www.payson parks.com or call (928) 474-5242, ext 7.

Shoot for the Heart on Thursday

The next in the series of the highly popular Shoot for the Heart seminars will be held 6 p.m., Thursday, March 15 at Mountain Bible Church.

Steve Sams will be a guest speaker on the subject of wild turkeys.

Sams is widely considered one of the state’s most knowledgeable conservationists when it comes to the species. In 2012 he received the Roger Lathaman Sportsman’s Service Award from the National Wild Turkey Federation and in 2011 was named the Citizen Contributor of the Year by the Western Area Fish and Wildlife.

In 2004 he retired from the U.S. Forest Service after 37 years of service in five states, seven national forests and six ranger districts.

He has a bachelor’s of science degree in forest management from the University of Minnesota and has volunteered as a certified hunter education instructor in five states including Arizona.

He is an active member of the National Wild Turkey Federation and has started chapters in Ruidoso, N.M. and Prescott.

The Shoot for the Heart event is free, open to the public and refreshments will be served.

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