Ohio River Basketball Camp will be back in 2021

Mark Martin

Mick Price is one happy camper.

Literally.

That’s because the Ohio River Basketball Camp of Champions is returning in 2021.

“We got the OK by our Board of Education, (superintendent) Mr. (Blaine) Hess and the Jackson County Health Department that we could have the camp,” Price, the veteran Ravenswood High boys basketball coach, said. “Last year we couldn’t have it due to the COVID situation.”

The excitement in Price’s voice oozed through the phone as he spoke of the camp’s return.

“We’re tickled to death that we will be able to have the camp. I know there were so many kids that were disappointed we didn’t have the camp last year,” Price, who has served as camp director for the camp’s soon-to-be 34 years of existence, said. “We’ve had a lot of feedback already since we put some stuff out (on Facebook pages).”

Price said 75 apps will be going out soon to kids who are able to come back to this year’s camp and a video will be sent to county school’s about its rich history.

While Price, who is one of the state’s winningest coaches, admitted he’s a bit behind the eight ball in preparing for the camp, he will gladly take on the workload.

“I’m about two months behind,” Price said. “Usually, I have a lot of this stuff done. So, I’m really trying to get the word out there.”

The camp is open to boys and girls entering grades 3-8 in the upcoming school year. This year’s camp will take place from June 28-July 1.

“It will be right before the three-week period (practice sessions for high school and middle school athletes) starts in Jackson County. We thought we would be able to get a lot of kids during that period of time.

“I know it’s a couple of weeks after we normally do it, but this isn’t normal because we’re going to have spring sports seasons still going well into June. And I didn’t want to mess that up.”

The time for camp each day begins at 8:30 a.m. and lasts until 12:30 p.m.

By staying with its normal morning hours, Price feels many who are involved in other sports will still be able to take part in the camp.

“We hope we have a great turnout this year. And we’re excited about it,” Price said. “We will have 10 coaches and 36 counselors. We are going to give them quality instruction when the kids’ come to this on the fundamentals of basketball.

“We’re going to have some fun. We’re going to do some competitions and we’re going to have some games.”

While it’s a joy for the campers, Price thinks he may be having the most fun of all.

“It’s a great week for me personally,” he said. “I love it. I love watching kids. I love watching kids compete. I love watching them get better as the week goes on. Just to look at a kids’ eyes and their faces and the smile on their faces when they are involved with camp. It’s worth a million bucks.”

Through the years, Price has witnessed campers move on to great things as basketball players.

“We’ve had many that’s come through and gone on to have successful high school careers and some who went on to play in college. That’s both Ripley and Ravenswood.

“This is the only camp we have for kids that age in this area and it is one of the oldest camps in West Virginia.”

According to Price, the camp is reaching its 34th year thanks to the tremendous support from the community.

“It wouldn’t be possible without the businesses in our community. And in both Jackson County towns. They love that we have this camp for kids. And when there is something for kids there is no hesitation in helping out any way they can. We’re fortunate to have great sponsors.”

Each camper receives a basketball, T-shirt and certificate.

Price said during the week there are many other prizes campers can earn through an array of competitions.

“Kids are only working and competing against their age group,” Price said.

Since its inception, the camp has been broken up into third and fourth graders (College Division), fifth and sixth graders (Olympic Division) and seventh and eighth graders (NBA Division).

The camp will end with the annual Parade of Champions, which honors various award winners, at 11 a.m. July 1.

For more information on the camp, contact Price at 304-273-5106 or 304-634-7312. He can also be reached by email at goreddevils@hotmail.com.

The camp is sponsored in association with the Ravenswood Youth Basketball League (RYBBL).