It is not often that out of shape sports journalists get to stand in the huddle shoulder to shoulder with UM varsity athletes for two hours, and it’s even less rare for fans to experience this phenomenon.
The UM Women’s Basketball Fantasy Camp was not just an invite to see how spectacular the players are, but a chance to rub elbows with them while going through drills just like they do for a night. Fans got to do pick and roll, shooting and dribbling drills but even better was being in the huddle with some of the best players in the ACC and NCAA.
“I wanted to expose our players to our fans and our fans understand the skill level that is required to play at the level that we play at,” head coach Katie Meier said. “I told the girls to show off a little bit; this is an event to make our product more attractive.”
The drills were not the easiest; the warm-ups alone had fans already sweating. The coaches were the players who explained the drills both clear and concise but fans had issues keeping up. By the middle of the camp fans started to look around and realize how talented these women athletes truly are. The players did not take it easy on the supporters; one drill on rebounding had fans versus 6’6” junior center Shanice Wilson in the paint trying to score on her.
Some players showed promise in coaching with how clearly they explained the effectiveness of the drills and how passionate they were about the fans performing well once the camp switched to 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 games.
“My love for the game is tremendous,” junior guard Shenise Johnson said. “I could definitely see myself coaching when the game gives me up, but before then no, I want to play.”
When the games started you could see some of the athletic ability of the UM Athletic department. Kirby Hocutt UM’s Athletic Director was even on the court showing his skills inside the paint. Seeing their support staff lay down some serious lumber on the court was shocking to even some of the guest men’s basketball team players.
“You could tell people have played basketball before, it’s fun to see them all in the same atmosphere,” junior forward Julian Gamble said. “Some of these guys take these games very serious; it’s kind of like a party but playing basketball at the same time.”
The UM women’s basketball team was able to connect with fans and supporters they never knew they had. One lady was well into her senior years but was on the court participating in all the warm-ups and drills as well. Overall the inaugural UM Women’s Basketball Fantasy Camp was a success and brought together over 50 fans and supporters for a fun night of basketball with some of the NCAA’s best women’s basketball players.
Rico Dominguez may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.