2010-06-27 / Sports

Cardinals laying the foundation

810-452-2632 • mselecky@mihomepaper.com

Cardinals’ boys coach George Gleason (white) and Marygrove women’s coach Joel Schroeder (red) put young athletes to the test at the Dryden Youth Basketball Summer Skills Clinic last Thursday. Photo by MICHAEL SELECKY Cardinals’ boys coach George Gleason (white) and Marygrove women’s coach Joel Schroeder (red) put young athletes to the test at the Dryden Youth Basketball Summer Skills Clinic last Thursday. Photo by MICHAEL SELECKY DRYDEN — With their first season of Genesee Area Conference competition sitting just over the horizon, the Cardinals’ varsity boys’ and girls’ basketball programs have chosen to step up their game, hosting a skills clinic last Monday- Friday from 11 a.m.-1p.m. that featured several collegiate guest instructors.

“This camp really buys our program some credibility. We can preach the same things over and over again to these kids, but when a college coach tells them these same things over and over, it gives the kids some respect for what we’re doing here,” said Dryden boys’ varsity coach George Gleason. “I discussed a lot with these guys before they came as to what they’d like to do. The players will walk away having learned a little bit more about defensive positioning, what situation to play them in and what it takes to be a good defender. That’s one thing we spent a whole day on. They’re also gonna leave here with some better ball handling skills, able to actually go outside of the school and practice dribbling. We then spent a couple hours between two sessions working on proper shooting form.”

Because the clinic was open to athletes in grades 2- 8 for $80 each, which included a T-shirt, the program’s long term viability was definitely a part of the agenda, which came with help from Marygrove College head women’s basketball coach Joel Schroeder and several of his current players on Thursday. Glenn Donahue, who amassed over 600 wins in coaching stints that included the men’s teams at Kirtland, St. Mary’s and Marygrove, also lent a hand Tuesday, Wednesday Schoolcraft women’s assistant Kevin Brathwait was in the house and Friday the athletes enjoyed the knowledge and techniques imparted by former women’s professional player Ann Lemire.

“When coach Donahue came in, one of his favorite things to teach is defense, so the next day when coach Brathwait took over, he did alot of different things, most of which was meant to build on what the kids had learned the day before. Coach Schroeder was aware we hadn’t done a lot of ball handling work, so that was his focus. That way when we get to the end of the week we can kind of cap everything off by explaining to kids what they learned each day and how to put it all together,” Gleason said. “The kids will have the basic skills when they walk out of here, but one of the biggest things I tell them is that this clinic alone will not make them a better basketball player. It’s what they take from here and practice outside that’s going to make the difference.”

Having played for Gleason’s father as an eighth grader, Schroeder was an assistant for the Marygrove men’s basketball team for five years before accepting his current position, which came after graduating from Lapeer East in 1995, followed by several years coaching and teaching at the high school level.

“I’m happy to come out and help the home town, especially coach Gleason, and it helps us out in maybe getting some players in the future and things like that. This is my third year coaching the women’s team at Marygrove and the program is doing well. We just lost in the (United States Collegiate Athletics Association) championship game,” said Schroeder. “I think it’s good for high school and junior high players to see how hard college athletes have to work, especially at our level. We’re not Div. 1, but there are places to play for a lot of players that aren’t 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds.”

The other hat thrown into the middle of this developmental ring belonged to Dryden varsity girls’ basketball coach Amy Mitchell, whose strong love of the game is reflected in her own collegiate hoops experience at Macomb Community College and Rochester College, as well as the winding drive she regularly makes from her home in Macomb County.

“Once I got here and realized what a great community this is, there’s not a lot of summer programs or clinics going on in the winter, so this is a chance to prove myself,” said Mitchell. “I think the girls are ready for our first season in the GAC. I’ve prepared them for the different type of play they’re going to see from some of the teams. It’s a more competitive conference, which in turn will make these girls better basketball players, and that’s the way I’ve tried to explain it to them because I think they’re a little bit nervous, but if they consider it a chance to become a better player and learn the game, we’re going to do fine.”

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