On the surface, the second installment of the Runnin' Indian summer basketball camp is just that — a camp intended to incrementally aid the development of young hoopsters.
There is a grander plan for the three days of instruction though, at least in the dreams of head basketball coach Greg Gober.
As he heads into year three at the helm of the Runnin' Indian program, the same one he played for while in high school, Gober has already accomplished quite a bit on the court. The Tribe has still yet to lose a district basketball game en route to back-to-back district titles, one appearance in the 5A Region II finals and several weeks ranked No. 1 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 5A poll.
He has also helped turn kids who enjoy shooting basketballs into a team of young men who understand the game and their role as positive role models in the community.
The latter pair of achievements are two Gober is most proud of, especially since it is a culture that was created in just a little under two years.
And therein lies the biggest issue pegged by Gober and one that he believes has the solution staring the community squarely in the face.
With each of the last two freshmen classes of Runnin' Indian hopefuls, Gober said it is apparent they are largely athletes who love to run, jump, dribble and shoot. But they are far from polished basketball players, either on the court or between the ears.
The reason? There simply isn't a reliable option for the younger athletes and future high school ballers to, well, ball in an organized setting.
"That’s the biggest deal right now for these guys is that they love to play, but there is really no avenue for these kids other than the YMCA," Gober explained. "We are hoping to turn the momentum from the camps into leagues so that they are getting to play and participate in them. This is just a starting point."
Gober noted he is currently working with other cities that offer citywide recreational basketball leagues, which he recalls being an option when he was a child growing up in Waxahachie. He hopes to have the leagues resurrected by the fall.
Those leagues will run concurrently with the high school basketball season, too. Gober explained the timing of the league would allow for the kids to participate in other sports, such as football and baseball, without having to miss a basketball season.
Of course, it would also create "more well-rounded athletes“ throughout Waxahachie.
“It should be the same kind of thing as little league baseball or peewee football, but in basketball, it is just not that way," Gober explained. "As soon as our basketball ends, then they start up, and it’s just the wrong timing for it. So we are going to make the leak where the kids are playing the same time as us that way after the football season they can start with us and then go right into the baseball season."
He added, "It should create more all-around athletes who just love competing instead of someone telling them at age 10 that 'you are this.' The truth is you have no idea what they are at age 10. For me, I just think it has been the missing link for certain programs such as basketball. Young kids just don’t have the same opportunities."
Volume two of the Runnin' Indian summer basketball camp is scheduled for July 17—19 and all signs point toward it being held in the new gymnasiums at the soon to be opened Waxahachie High School. An opportunity to host the camp at the new high school would be "a big deal for everybody," said Waxahachie head boys' basketball Greg Gober.
"I have a gut feeling that the camp is going to be able to be at the new high school because they are starting to let people get in there, so all I’m waiting for them to do was say 'yes,'" Gober disclosed. "The administration seems to be in favor of it and if they would like for us to have it there and be something positive, especially for those first through sixth graders.”