The Bullard High School Panther Gymnasium was filled with potential last week, as approximately 60 young female athletes took part in the annual Bullard Lady Panther Basketball Summer Camp, held Tuesday through Friday, May 30-Friday, June 2, hosted by the Bullard Lady Panther varsity basketball program and head coach Barry Gill.
“We had a little over 60 girls participate in both sessions combined this year at camp,” said Gill. “It’s my fifth year of hosting camp here at Bullard, and every year, it’s always better than the year before, in terms of numbers, attitudes, and understanding what we want. Some of these kids come to camp every year and you get to watch them grow up, both physically and skill level-wise.”
At the Lady Panther Basketball Summer Camp, athletes were divided into two sessions, with incoming seventh through ninth graders competing in the early session from 9-11:30 a.m., while younger athletes entering third through sixth grade took part in the action during the later session from 1-2:30 p.m.
The Lady Panther Basketball Summer Camp, ran by Gill and his assistant coaches, Chris Hightower and Joanna Daniel, was used to teach both individual and team basketball skills, as well as an emphasis on fundamentals as well as team play.
“During the camp, we try to focus and emphasize on the fundamental aspects of the game that my staff and I feel are important for these athletes to learn at a young age,” said Gill. “It’s mainly offensive fundamentals such as shooting, passing, dribbling, and pivoting. We have a very precise way we like things done. These are a lot of the same drills we use in the upper level of the program, and it will shorten their learning curve once they get into high school.”
The Lady Panther varsity basketball program is no stranger when it comes to success, as Gill and his assistant coaches have piloted the program to three consecutive seasons with 31-7 records, as well as back-to-back appearances in the UIL Regional Semifinals.
Gill emphasized to the athletes during the Lady Panther Basketball Summer Camp about remaining active during the summer months and to not let the camp be their only time of athletic training during summer vacation.
“We’re in a society that we need to be healthy, and you have to be active to be healthy,” said Gill. “With so many good restaurants around the area, you’ve got to stay busy. Nowadays, with girls basketball, we’ve advanced so far in the past 30 years where the game is no longer seasonal; you’ve got to play in the summer if you’re going to be effective and compete for stops. It’s become very competitive, which is good for the sport.”
When asked about the talent level of the athletes attending the camp and the thought of the campers making their way through the Lady Panther basketball program over the next 10 years, Gill said there is excitement about the future of the program.
“I’m very excited about the future,” said Gill. “Like I said, this camp has been the best over the last five year, not just in numbers, but also in talent and ability. I’m looking forward to seeing some of these girls make their way up to the varsity level and help our program succeed in the years to come.”