By Kevin Wilson
Sometimes less is more, but not so at the Eastern New Mexico University team camps.
Shawn Scanlan, the men’s basketball coach at ENMU, is expecting a small, but understandable decline in teams at this year’s camps, which run June 15-28.
The camp has grown from 35 teams since Scanlan first ran it in 2000 to about 85 as of Thursday afternoon. Scanlan said the camps totaled 89 teams from across New Mexico and Texas last year, but the differences are negligible and understandable.
In relative terms, Scanlan finds the team numbers are about equal, and so is the difficulty level in organizing the event.
“The number of teams does make it harder,” said Scanlan. “A couple of problems come up with more teams, but that’s the idea. You need more help with more teams because there are more games.”
The stress is somewhat reduced for the Greyhound basketball staff because the event is broken down into four separate camps. The first camp (Sunday through Wednesday) is for small school teams and junior varsity teams from bigger schools. The second camp (Wednesday through Saturday) is a girls camp, as is the final camp June 25-28.
Sandwiched between the two girls camps is the third camp, for large school varsity teams. It is scheduled for June 22-25.
Teams play 16 “regular season” games, followed by a camp tournament.
Earlier this summer, the prevailing notion was that the New Mexico-West Texas Phenoms basketball league would hurt attendance at the girls camps. However, Scanlan said that hasn’t been the case. Since the league holds games on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the teams entering the ENMU camps need to only rearrange one evening of games. Between the two camps, Scanlan said there are 47 teams signed up out of 48 possible slots.
Scanlan said there were a few teams that have not signed up, but will likely return next year. For example, Texico coach Richard Luscombe is taking his players to a camp at Arizona State, and Artesia coach Paul Kirkwood is currently working with new assistant coaches.
For 2003, the camp is operating as expected. The hardest part, according to ENMU assistant Mark Murdock, is scheduling the regular season.
“You have to make sure teams don’t play each other twice, you have to make sure teams play on the arena floor the same number of times,” Murdock said. “You’ve got to make sure everybody gets a break between games, you’ve got to make sure everybody gets a break for lunch. You’ve got to make sure everybody gets a break for dinner. You’ve got to make sure a weak school doesn’t play all big schools. You’ve got to make sure two teams from the same school don’t play each other.
“It’s become a statistical nightmare in trying to do the schedule.”
And if a team drops out, Murdock said, he’s got to do the schedule again — about three hours of work. However, he thinks he has it easy in comparison to the referees, who will officiate more than 700 games over the two-week period.