Women's hoops: The defense never rests (Part 4)

Working the basketball camps is an important part of summer for many collegiate basketball players, men and women alike. Besides being a way to earn money during the summer, it's also to an opportunity develop coaching skills and even have a little fun.

In Part 4 of this series, VandyMania went straight to the source and asked Anna G, one of the youngest campers at the Offensive Skills Camp in June, to give the inside scoop on what goes on in Memorial Gym during camp. She met Whitney D after the first and last days of the camp to talk about her experiences.

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Anna G: In the beginning, we got there and started at 9. They gathered us all together and talked to us: "No jewelry, no UT clothes." One girl had on shorts with a UT sign. They had some purple tape, and they put a big purple X over the UT sign.

And then she called out all the campers' names and their groups. 158 names and 7 groups. I was in group 1, which was pretty easy to remember. Then we went upstairs to the practice gym and we did rotations, like, you learned about BEEF. BEEF means -- the B stands for "balance", your stance. Then E for elbows, and then E for eyes -- keep your eye on the ball when you're shooting it, and F is follow-through.

The other stations were things like defense and ball-handling where you did ball-handling drills. One station we learned boxing out and shooting it up again if you're on that team. We did some boxing out exercises, like there was a person who was on defense and the person behind them is the person on offense. The person on offense has a partner, and the person on offense tries to get around the defense when they get the ball. But the person on defense has to stay like this, they can't be facing them.

Those were our rotation groups. And then we did 2 on 2. That was pretty fun. Then before lunch, we were divided up into our SEC teams. My team was Kentucky. There was also GA, VU, FL, and LSU. They also had the Big 10, the ACC and the WNBA. Then we had lunch. We watched Stuart Little during lunch -- that was different from last year. Last year we watched highlights.

After lunch, we played 5-on-5. Each team had like 10 or 11 people, so we would just have subs. My team was the youngest, so it was kind of hard for us.

We also played a game called "Gotcha". And between the 5-on-5 games, we did foul shot practice. There are five girls on the sides of the lane, and you shoot it up 10 times. So you can get 1 out of 10, 2 out of 10, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 out of ten. You shoot ten times, you rotate. The coach has everybody's name written down in her little book, and she counts in her head ten times, and she also counts what you get. The highest we got was 5 out of 10. That's what I got.

At the end of the day, we went downstairs back to the Memorial Gym, and we got bags with Gatorade powder and a Gatorade Bottle and a Gatorade key ring. Then the day was over. And then they announced at the end of the day again, "Remember, no jewlery, no UT clothes." And then we went home.

VandyMania caught up with Anna G again after the last day of camp.

Today was Spirit Day. I had stuff in my hair, but I took it out, and I had a jersey on, but I took it off and I now have on a Vandy shirt. They said, "No UT. If you're going to wear those UT shorts, you have to wear them inside out."

We played a game called "Go Bananas". The counselor goes, "Bananas unite!", then the kids go "Bananas unite!". Then the counselor goes, "Bananas split!" and we'd go, "Bananas split!" they go, "Go Bananas! Go go Bananas!" and then you'd turn around the other way and go, "Go bananas, go go bananas!" And then you go, "Lean to your left and lean to your right, peel the banana, and, ooh, take a bite!" The winners got a free slice of pizza at lunch, and it was the oldest group and the youngest group that won. That's us.

Today was different from all the rest because we had a 20-minute session where we got to ask the players questions. Jutta, Ashley Earley, Jenni Benningfield, Hillary, and Abi Ramsey were there.

You'd raise your hand, and they'd call on you. Some of the questions people asked were really funny, like the first one. Someone asked, "What was your most embarrassing moment?"

Abi said when she was in the seventh grade, she was running down the court, and one of her teammates pulled down her underwear and her shorts. And Ashley Earley said when she was in junior high, once she stole the ball at halfcourt and went the wrong way and shot it and made it.

I asked them how long had they been playing. Hillary said her dad was a coach so she'd been playing for a long time. And then somebody said six years old, and Abi said fourth grade, and Jutta was 12 years old.

Jenni said she loves to dance. Someone asked what were their favorite things to do, and Jenni said "Dance", and everybody laughed, and she said, "Well, it's true". Then later, somebody asked, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" and then Jenni said, "Dancing!" but then said she was just joking.

And at the end of the day we played the Money Game. It's about pressure shooting. It's called the "Money Game" because you can win either money or a t-shirt. First you get a triva question, like who fouled out in a certain game. If you get the question right, you get the chance to shoot, and you shoot in front of EVERYBODY and that's 157 people, and the staff, and the parents watching. I didn't know any of the answers, and even if I did, I wouldn't raise my hand because I'm not good at pressure shooting.

Then you have to say ahead of time if you're going for the t-shirt or for the money. To win the money, you have to shoot four swishes in a row, no rim at all, from the left wing. For the t-shirt you have to get two shots in a row but they can be off the backboard. Nobody got the money. Even the players tried it. The only thing anybody won was a t-shirt and shorts.

And we played a lot of 2-on 2, and 3 on 3, and 1 on 1 and 5 on 5. They gave out awards at the end of the day. We came in fourth in the SEC. Florida came in last. I think Georgia came in third place. LSU came in second and Vanderbilt came in first in the SEC.

I wish they had most competitive player and hustle awards like they did last year, but I liked the way they did it this year. It was cool because we would listen to Coach Balcomb. Two years ago we would listen to Pete Gaudette, not that I had a problem with that, we just didn't get to hear or see the coach.

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Next: Senior captain Hillary Hager talks about the regular pickup games in Memorial Gym that are an important part of summer conditioning.

Photos by Whitney D. for VandyMania. Click on thumbnails for larger images.

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