The UVM men's basketball team goes from playing in front of the nation, to teaching young campers how to play basketball. The first week of Coach Becker camp is completely full. 220 young ball players were on the courts this week at Patrick Gym, learning from the Cats.
Coach Becker says their success has really helped the camp numbers. "This is the biggest week of camp in the six years I've been here."
UVM forward Luke Apfeld is one of the Cats helping coach the kids at camp. "It's fun. We find ourselves saying some of the stuff that our coaches tell us," says Apfeld. "We're telling them the same things on defense, on offense, boxing out, rebounding. It just shows we all started out at that same spot." The junior continues, "no matter the level, you're still doing the same things, working on the fundamentals of basketbal and trying to get better."
Many of the players are back on campus, not only to help out with Coach Becker's camp, but to get a jump start on the 2012-2013 season. There have been a lot of changes in the off-season, but the Cats are hoping they can use last year's success, as a motivation to build for the future.
"It just makes the season so much easier because we don't have to use the pre-season to get all the small things under control and install what we do." Apfeld calls it a "huge benefit."
Coach Becker notes a new NCAA rule that allows the coaches to work out the players a couple hours a week in the off-season. "It's great to have the guys back on campus," says Becker, "starting to work towards next year and defending our championship."
The Catamounts are looking to defend the America East title without America East rookie of the Year Four McGlynn who requested a late release to transfer to Towson. While the timing of his release was an obvious disappointment for the Cats, Becker is thrilled with the team he's assembled, which now includes even more local talent.
One of the biggest positives to come this off-season is for Burlington native Clancy Rugg, who was awarded one of Vermont's available scholarships. But Rugg isn't the only Green Mountain player on the roster.
"I love the guys we have coming back," smiled Becker.
"We're a little thin with only 9 scholarship guys right now, but I love the nine guys and Troy Davine from Rutland will be a walk-on to give us ten," says the coach, heading into his second season with UVM.
"We have guys that are motivated and excited to get next year started."
The players will finish out one more day of camp on Friday, before hitting the books and the gym for the month of July. There are still 50 sports remaining for Coach Becker's camp (www.johnbeckerbasketballcamp.com) which runs the week of August 13th.
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