KCC’s men’s basketball team helps kids learn skills at camps

Adding a second four-week session to his popular basketball Skills and Fundamentals Teaching Camps for kids last year was an easy decision for Kellogg Community College’s head basketball coach Melvin McKnight: He says he was forced to.

“The parents told me if I didn’t do another session they were gonna break my neck,” McKnight joked during the first of four camps that make up this year’s second session. “They think it’s just great for the kids.”

As McKnight spoke, nearly 20 kids were dribbling, passing or shooting basketballs, running or doing pushups or other drills with a half dozen or so players from Kellogg Community College’s men’s basketball team in the college’s Miller Gymnasium.

“There’s no competition, there’s no worry about who’s better than who,” McKnight said of the camps, which teach kids about basketball as well as about things like keeping their grades up in school. “Everybody can just kind of break down and do their own thing.”

‘It’s very influential’

This year marks the third year the college has offered the Saturday afternoon camps, the remaining camps of which will run this year from 2:30 to 5 p.m. each Saturday through June 2. The camps are held at the Miller Physical Education Building on Kellogg Community College’s Battle Creek campus, located at 450 North Ave., and cost a one-time fee of $25, with proceeds going to support the men’s basketball program.

Christian Covile, a Kellogg Community College freshman and basketball player who will study criminal justice at the school this fall, took a break from running drills with the kids to talk about how he enjoys helping run the camps.

“It’s very influential,” Covile said. “All the kids look like they’re having fun, so I guess we’re doing our job.”

Covile said among the skills covered in the camps are different ways to pass, dribbling styles and shooting techniques.

“And work ethic also,” he said. “How hard we work.”

‘He really learns’

It’s a work ethic that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Beth Chadwick, whose son, Michael Dixon, Jr., attended both camp sessions last year and has attended all of the camps so far this year. Chadwick said Dixon, who turned 9 the day of the first second-session camp, likes the camps in part because of their structure.

“It’s really drills,” Chadwick said. “It’s really work.”

She said that while Dixon has participated in a number of other basketball camps, the Skills and Fundamentals Teaching Camps at Kellogg Community College are the best he’s been to.

“He really learns,” Chadwick said. “They don’t just throw him the ball and say go shoot, they really work him, and they actually challenge him here.”

For Coach McKnight, who participated in community basketball programs on playgrounds in the 80s, the camps offer him a way to invest in his team and the community at the same time.

“Now I’m in the position to give back to the kids in the community,” he said. “It’s a two-for-one: I can have a little fundraiser for the basketball team and still do what I like to do as far as giving back to the kids.”

Remaining Kellogg Community College Skills and Fundamentals Teaching Camps are scheduled for May 19, May 26 and June 2. Kids can be registered on-site and should arrive dressed in athletic clothes and ready to play ball.

For more information about the camps, contact Kellogg Community College’s athletic department at 269-274-8640. For more information about the men’s basketball program at Kellogg Community College, visit www.kellogg.edu/athletics/mensbball/index.html.

For photos from the first camp of this year’s second session — including the one above — visit Kellogg Community College’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KelloggCommunityCollege/photos.