This week, Randolph’s women’s basketball players are back in the RAD Center gym working on fundamentals and team building. But instead of preparing for their own opponents, these student-athletes are focused on helping local girls.
Women’s Head coach Allison Nichols, Assistant Coach Lindsey Sharman, and Randolph players Abigail Bullins ’16, Korin Harris ’17, and Rebecca Harvey ’19 have spent the week teaching the basic fundamentals of basketball to the children, who are between 6 and 14 years old. The specific aspects they’re working on include ball handling, rebounding, defense, and passing. The young players spend the afternoons putting those skills to the test with three-on-three, five-on-five, and one-on-one matchups.
Another popular afternoon activity has been listening to guest speakers. On Tuesday, professional basketball players Ellen Geraghty and Erika Valek visited the camp. Both played for Division I women’s college basketball programs and have competed in professional leagues overseas. They currently live in Lynchburg and are enrolled in Liberty University’s counseling program.
“They did some team building and talked to us a bit, and they put the campers through some drills,” Nichols said. “I thought that would be good for our campers to meet them and hear their stories.”
On Friday, a familiar face will return to campus when Emilee Dunton ’14 stops by the RAD Center gym to talk to the young athletes. The former Randolph women’s basketball player was recently named head coach of Liberty High School’s women’s basketball team.
“She’s going to come and talk about her college career and being an adult, and also about living out her dream of becoming a coach and still being around the game of basketball,” said Nichols.
Nichols has seen the Randolph women’s basketball team steadily improve during her five years as head coach. The 2014-15 team won the most games in program history, and its seniors graduated as the winningest class earlier this year.
“We’re starting to turn that corner,” she said. “The last two years, especially, we’ve started to see some success, so I’m looking forward to seeing how we can build on that.”
Nichols said she looks for Bullins to be a big factor in the team’s upcoming season, but for this week, the guard from Asheboro, North Carolina, is focusing more on helping others develop their basketball skills. This is the third time Bullins has volunteered at the summer day camp. She said her favorite part of volunteering is seeing kids get excited about interacting with the College players.
“That was what I enjoyed most when I was growing up and going to camps — getting to work with players and later see them in games and actually know them personally,” Bullins said. “And it makes you feel good when they tell you they went home and practiced something you taught them.”
Volunteering at the camps has also given Bullins valuable leadership experience. The sports and exercise studies major is considering graduate school or a career in coaching after graduation from Randolph.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of sport,” she said. “I would like it to be basketball, but if that’s not what’s in the plans then I’ll take whatever comes my way.”
This year’s camp concludes Friday at noon. Randolph will also host its Skill Builder Hoop Camp for boys and girls ages 5-14 on August 3-7. For more information, please visit http://www.randolphwildcats.com/information/summer_camps.