BASKETBALL

Scorpion boys basketball camp will focus on fundamentals

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Even in the middle of summer vacation, high school sports is still very much in business.

Farmington High School boys basketball coach Larry-Don Chitty and his staff are busy preparing for a youth skills camp, coming up July 11 at Scorpion Arena.

"There's no better time to start thinking about the future than now," Chitty said. "And the response so far has been excellent."

The camp, which will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through July 15, is for boys and girls wishing to learn about what it takes to play basketball, and also has a greater purpose of giving kids in the community a chance to do something besides staying home.

"It's too easy to get caught up in the video games and staying indoors. Maybe we all got caught up in that too much during the pandemic, but it's refreshing to see how many want to change that," Chitty said. "We've got over 50 kids who have already signed up for the camp, and we're still hoping for more."

Farmington High School boys basketball coach Larry-Don Chitty looks on as his team faces Rio Rancho during a boys basketball game at Scorpion Arena in Farmington.

The camp will focus on a number of different elements of the game of basketball, including defense and running drills, according to Chitty, who will also be joined at the camp by members of the girls team coaching staff, including new coach Tom Adair.

"I've joked a bit that we won't even be using a basketball," Chitty said. "But there's some truth to it as well, because so much of basketball is learning the fundamentals of playing as a team, and a lot of that comes down to defense."

The Scorpion boys basketball team, coming off a season in which they went 20-9 last spring before losing in the Class 5A state tournament to Hobbs, is coming off their first winning season since 2017 when they advanced to the Class 5A quarterfinals to Los Lunas. Chitty knows the team is headed in the right direction, but still has a long way to go.

The skills camp, which is still accepting registrations for students from first through ninth grades, also provides an opportunity for fans, coaches and parents to reset their way of doing things.

Farmington's Marcos Araiza goes up against Sandia's Sean Johnson in the paint during the third quarter of their game, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022 at Scorpion Arena.

"I think the reason the camp has gotten so much attention this time around has been because of the success we had last season, and we can still do more," Chitty said. "(The camp) has also given people the idea that it's OK to get back to a sense of routine and getting out of the house. I think the last couple years has given everyone a chance to rediscover what's good for the kids, their parents and families. It's teaching about what's really important."

The Scorpion boys basketball teams recently wrapped up a successful summer basketball program, which saw them face other squads teams from across the region. The Scorpions junior varsity team went 6-0 during one weekend at Fort Lewis College, with an average margin of victory of more than 30 points per game.

"We have had our best turnout of the summer," Chitty said. "There is so much potential here and some really good boys."

Fundamentals of the game, particularly in the sport of basketball, include learning how to play defense. That is something that Chitty hopes he and the other coaches at the camp can instill in those who choose to participate.

"Everyone wants to be Steph Curry. Even I want a few Currys on my team," Chitty joked, referring to the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player from the Golden State Warriors. "But there's more to the game than hitting a bunch of long-range three-point shots. "You're not going to get the chance to be Curry unless you learn how to do the other things."

Registration for the skills camp is $50 per attendee and includes a t-shirt and basketball. For more information about the camp, you can check out the link at schoolpay.com.