Mercer Island hoop camps are on the horizon this summer

Photo courtesy of Pam Swendrowski Mercer Island youth basketball players partook in the first day of the annual Island hoops camps on June 19. The camps, which are led by Mercer Island Islanders boys basketball head coach Gavin Cree, are a tradition on Mercer Island.

Youthful basketball players looking to hone their hardwood skills on Mercer Island will have an opportunity to gain a sizable amount of knowledge during the multiple Island Hoop camps taking place over the summer.

Mercer Island boys basketball head coach Gavin Cree, who will be in his ninth year as director of the basketball camps, said the camps will offer a little bit of everything pertaining to proficiency on the basketball court.

“The focus of the camps are individual fundamental skills, competition as well as getting out and having fun playing basketball. We want them to learn the game,” Cree said.

There will be six camps taking place over the summer for players between first and eighth grade. The first session is currently take place from June 19-22, the second sessions are from June 26-29 and the third and final session will be on July 5-6. The camps will take place at Mercer Island High School and Islanders Middle School. To register for the camps, visit https://go.teamsnap.com/forms/58702/signups.

The camp will be led by Cree’s current high school coaching staff as well as alumni members of the Islanders boys basketball program. Cree said the annual summer hoops camps have been a fixture on the Island for close to 50 years.

“I think what makes Mercer Island a special place is that kids have an opportunity to grow roots together. A lot of our kids play together from a young age in a community that stays together I think maybe more than other communities. Part of that is because of the enclosed nature of the Island, but also having the continuity that we’ve had in the basketball program over the years makes a difference. We’ve only had three coaches in the history of Mercer Island High School boys basketball,” Cree said. “Some of the traditions that we’ve had, have led to a lot of stability within the basketball community. Kids kind of know what they are getting into and there are a lot of great leaders that have played in the years ahead of them to look up to.”

Cree said many of the players who have partaken in the hoop camps over the years have made their mark at the high school level.

“A lot of those kids end up having an opportunity to play at the high school level and varsity level down the line,” Cree said. “It is fun to see kids who were dedicated to camp how they end up rising to the top when they get to 11th or 12th grade.”