Northern New Mexico College Men's Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Ryan Cordova leads a group of about 50 campers through a drill on proper defensive position at the Northern New Mexico College Boys and Girls Basketball Camp. Cordova made them hold the position for five minutes. The camp involved about 90-100 campers ages 6-15 June 10-14 at Northern.
By George Morse
Basketball season may be over, but basketball is alive and well during the summer in the basketball town of Española. Northern New Mexico College hosted a basketball camp June 10-14 for boys and girls ages 6 through 15 that attracted between 90-100 participants who spent their mornings and afternoons being put through rigorous drills and learning the fundamentals that even colleges players still work on.
Under the watchful eye and direction of Northern Men’s Coach and Athletic Director Ryan Cordova, the campers worked out at Eagle Memorial Gym on the Northern campus. Assisted by Española Valley High School boys basketball coach Gabriel Martinez, a former player and assistant coach at Northern, Cordova has hosted the camp since he took over the reins at Northern.
“”It gives the kids a safe place to go during the summer,” Cordova said. “Some camps they pay attention to only the advanced players. We want to get everyone interested in basketball. That way, during the season they might say ‘Let’s go watch a Northern game tonight.’”
It’s not all fun and games. Cordova puts the campers through a rigorous set of drills that one would think might bore a youngster, but he manages to keep their attention.
“It seems like simple things, but I do the same thing with my college players every single day,” Cordova said. “We spend 20 minutes working on fundamentals. We start simple, then add to it a more difficult task. The fundamentals of working, be it at a job or basketball, are the same thing. Paying attention, working together, being a team player.”
Cordova adds that campers who have maintained a 4.0 grade-point-average during the school year can attend the camp for free.
Martinez, who played four years at Northern and was hired as boys basketball coach at Española Valley High School this spring, it’s a way of connecting with the community that he has become a part of. He believes that he and Cordova working together is a positive way to give back to the kids.
“Española is very unique,” he said. “It became my home away from home right off the bat. Over the four years I played here I was able to meet a lot of people in the community. Like I tell the high school players, these are the kids who will be cheering for you in the stands.”
The boys and girls camp was preceded by a girls team camp that local high school teams attended. There will be a boys team camp beginning Friday and ending Sunday that will feature local high school teams, including Coach Martinez and his Española Valley team.
Northern New Mexico College basketball player Tyrique Weaver (right) talks to two younger campers June 14 at the Northern New Mexico College Boys and Girls Basketball Camp. Former Northern player Chris Williams(left) and Española Valley High School boys basketball coach Gabriel Martinez work with other campers.
Northern New Mexico College Men's Basketball Coach Ryan Cordova talks to campers at Northern's Boys and Girls Basketball Camp. Española Valley High School boys basketball coach Gabriel Martinez assisted Cordova at the camp.
Coach Cordova watches the campers go through a drill.
At the Camp, Coach Cordova worked on fundamentals and said he does the same with his college players.
Campers at the Northern New Mexico College Boys and Girls Basketball camp practice passing the basketball.