By Jeffery Armstrong
Clayton State Lakers head basketball coach Gordon Gibbons' goal for his summer camps was to have 50 high school varsity teams by his fifth year.
He's almost there.
In Gibbons' fourth year, the Lakers have attracted 40 varsity teams this week in their high school basketball camp, held at various locations in Clayton County. Games are played at CCSU, Forest Park High, Morrow High and Babb Middle School.
"This is pretty neat. This speaks highly of the support we get from the local teams and fans," said Lakers assistant men's basketball coach Cory Baldwin. "The growth of this camp can be attributed to coach Gibbons' good reputation and the success of our basketball program over the last few years."
Teams playing in the camp, which ends tonight, include seven local teams: Mt. Zion, Morrow, Lovejoy, North Clayton and Forest Park of Clayton County and Luella and Union Grove of Henry County. Other teams in the camp include Towers, McNair, Sandy Creek, Dunwoody and Griffin.
"The nice thing about the competition here is that 16 of the 40 teams made the playoffs last season," said Baldwin.
Baldwin said what makes the CCSU basketball camp nice for the varsity teams is its benefits.
"We like to bill our camp as the most competitive camp at the best price," he said. "We don't charge each player; we charge per team and that's good for the teams."
Baldwin said the competition is one of the best things about the CCSU high school camps.
There are always some good matchups featured and this year was no exception. Morrow faced Booker T. Washington earlier in the week ("the gym was packed for that one," said Baldwin) and Morrow also beat Griffin and Dunwoody also faced North Clayton. Fans have been coming to see these games in droves, Baldwin said, which he said could lead to potential and future Clayton State students.
For those interested in some high school basketball action, the camp's finale kicks off at 4:30 p.m. today. Clayton State isn't finished with basketball camps n they will host a day camp during the last week in June and they will have a Team Shootout July 9-11 on the campus.
Baldwin said CCSU has 20 varsity teams so far for the Team Shootout; the camp has space for five more teams.