The Walker Middle School basketball team recently attended the 2013 Florida Gator Team Camp, held June 21-23 at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
According to head coach Reggie Wilkes, the team competed against teams from across the nation. He said the squad gained valuable experience playing against a variety of teams. Wilkes registered two teams from his roster, with the boys playing 12 games during the three-day period.
“It gave our kids a chance to experience excellent competition and a small amount of college life,” he said. “We were the only middle-school team to attend the camp playing in the Junior Varsity League against ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders.”
According to Wilkes, the Wildcats got the feel of big-time basketball by playing at the Gators’ O’Connell Center. The players also ate at the university dining hall, toured the Swamp and met former NBA player and current Los Angeles Clippers head coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers while he scouted possible players.
“I though the kids really enjoyed the camp. It was a great experience for them,” Wilkes said.
The UF camp concluded a five-week summer program to help the players prepare for the upcoming season. According to Wilkes, during the summer program, the Wildcats played area middle-school teams and compiled a 20-6 record. He said that by having this many games, it almost was like the kids played in a separate season during the summer.
“I’m proud of the hard work and dedication these young men have shown over the summer,” he said. “I know the time and effort they put in this summer will pay off during the season next year.”
Wildcat team members who completed the summer program were Khy Collins, Cameron Key, Kendell Lovett, Quarnielus Bacon, Rayquan Baggs, Nathan Francis, Dwight Coles, Holden Riddle, John Wise, Zion Anderson, Ezra Anderson, Alex Sanchez, Jamel Sloan, Christian Bass, Ryheim Izzard and Terry Smith.