Summer Roundup: Men's Basketball
August 06, 2007
As the summer begins to wind down and the new school year approaches, the LSUS men’s basketball team has yet to slow down. Since the conclusion of a disappointing loss to Azusa Pacific University in the NAIA National Tournament, the Pilot coaching staff and players have remained extremely busy both on and off the basketball court.
The following stories are a brief update of what the Pilots have been doing this summer:
Pilot Basketball Camps a Huge Success – For the fifth consecutive summer, attendance at the LSUS summer basketball camps continues to grow. Considered by many to be the best individual basketball camp in the area, over 250 kids from all over the country attended at least one of the three LSUS basketball camps that were offered in early June. Although most of the individual instruction these young boys and girls receive is from the Pilot coaching staff, it is the LSUS men’s basketball players that continue to make the camps special. The chance for a camper to play their favorite Pilot player in a game of one-on-one, H-O-R-S-E, or knockout is always the biggest thrill of many in attendance. With all of the repeat campers who continue to come back every summer, the LSUS coaches and players must be doing something right!
In addition to the individual camps, the LSUS Pilot Team Camp was also a success. With 14 teams in attendance once again this summer, the camp featured some of the best local and area talent. The fierce two-day competition gave several high school players the opportunity to play at “The Dock,” and it also allowed the Pilot coaching staff to evaluate some of the local talent in their own gym.
Players, Coaches Give Back to Community – The 2006 NAIA Buffalo Funds Five Star Award winners were back at it again this summer. Recognized for their efforts both on the basketball court and in the community, the Pilot basketball team continues to give back to local schools and churches.
For the second consecutive year, several men’s basketball players made a visit to Noel United Methodist Church for their Upward basketball camp. The Pilot players “wowed” those in attendance with their exceptional shooting and ball-handling skills, along with several high-flying dunks in the dunk contest. Seniors Josh Porter and Jamon Morris also served as motivational speakers for the many kids in attendance. At the conclusion of the event, the players signed basketballs, t-shirts, and posters for all of the campers.
On August 11, several players will assist with the set-up and breakdown at the Volunteers for Leadership Summit held at First Baptist Church right here in Shreveport.
In addition to all of the player’s community service efforts, men’s head basketball coach Chad McDowell visited a local church this summer as the feature instructor at the First Baptist Church of Shreveport’s basketball clinic. Kids between the ages of 5 and 13 were given individual basketball instruction by the four time LABC coach of the year. Not only did Coach McDowell spend the five days teaching these young kids the game of basketball, but he also taught them on how to be a winner in life. McDowell was also the guest speaker at the Doyline High School athletic banquet in early May. Doyline is the alma mater of two future Pilot players, Cody Walker and Ta’Kevin Huey.
Assistant coaches Ryan Edwards and Kyle Blankenship were also involved this summer in several community service events. Coach Edwards helped serve as a basketball clinician for Camp Shriver, a Special Olympics organization in Louisiana. Coach Blankenship was the basketball camp coordinator at Project 61, an annual inner-city sports camp at Comanche Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Both of these events allowed each coach to give back to those that might be considered less fortunate than others.
Pilots Participate in Firecracker 5k – The LSUS Pilots had an explosive start to our nation’s independence day. On July 4, several players and coaches of the men’s basketball team participated in the annual Firecracker 5k run that benefits the American Cancer Society. An estimated crowd of over 3,000 runners and walkers took part in this year’s race. Josh Porter was the first LSUS player to finish the race, crossing the finish line in just over 22 minutes. Coach Ryan Edwards took home the bragging rights amongst the coaching staff, finishing with a time of 23:40.
In other notes, athletic trainer Lance Champagne and men’s basketball player Chris Wafer, who ran the entire race with a 25 lb. weight vest strapped on his back, both finished the race in less than 30 minutes.
Will Josh Porter Play in 2007??? – After suffering a season ending and life threatening injury in just the seventh game of the 2006-2007 season, All-American Josh Porter remains hopeful of stepping back onto the floor at “The Dock” wearing a Pilot uniform once again. Porter, who broke the C5 vertebrae in his neck, continues to rehab and make the necessary progress towards his goal of playing for the Pilots in 2007-2008. After only playing in five games prior to his injury, Porter was granted a medical hardship by the NAIA, allowing him an additional season of competition. Porter has already been released by his doctor for participation in non-contact drills; however, he is still waiting for a full release which is expected in September. According to head coach Chad McDowell, he and the entire basketball team expect to see Josh Porter back on the basketball court this fall!Men’s basketball players will report for classes on August 27. The Pilots will open up the 2007-2008 campaign on November 2 on the road against Southwest Assemblies of God University. A complete 2007-2008 player roster and season schedule will be released once they are finalized.