PARKERSBURG -When Kenny DeMoss started the Hi Intensity Basketball Camp in 1998 at Hamilton Junior High, it attracted 14 boys in grades 8 through 12.
Contrast that humble beginning to the scene that took place each weekday last week at Memorial Fieldhouse, where the camp celebrated its 15th anniversary.
Approximately 150 boys and girls ranging from kindergarten through middle school were honing their basketball skills under the watchful eye of more than 20 coaches. The camp prides itself on having one coach for each 8 to 10 campers.
Parkersburg High School girls basketball coach Kenny DeMoss works with campers during the week-long Hit Intensity Basketball Camp at Memorial Fieldhouse, which celebrated its 15th anniversary this summer. The camp attracted approximately 150 youngsters.
Pride is a big word around the camp, and around DeMoss, who serves as the head girls basketball coach at Parkersburg High School.
"Nothing great in life can be achieved without great enthusiasm,'' said DeMoss, quoting a famous line from Ralph Waldo Emerson. The enthusiasm of the campers and coaches was apparent. They were working hard and having fun at the same time, not to mention learning how to improve their basketball skills.
When DeMoss started the camp, he was serving as an assistant coach to his predecessor, Don Fosselman. He saw a need for developing better fundamentals and techniques among the younger players and decided to attempt putting on a camp.
Little did he know then how successful and popular that camp would become. It's now a community tradition. This year, it even attracted a player from Las Vegas. Seems he was visiting his grandparents in Coolville who were familiar with the camp and decided to introduce him to our local brand of basketball.
DeMoss takes camping seriously. As seriously as he takes the sport of basketball. He's traveled all across America attending the nation's top camps in an order both to learn the game as well as how to teach it. He's become a regular attendee of the legendary Moran Wooten's camps in the Washington, D.C. area. This year, he is heading to Boston to attend a camp headed by Boston Celtics standout Paul Pierce.
DeMoss likes to be able to physically demonstrate the skills he and his staff are teaching. When he was younger, that was easy. But when he turned 40 and his weight ballooned, that no longer was the case. So he began exercising and dieting so that he could continue to show how to perform techniques.
Camp instructors include Jeff Kisner, a members of DeMoss' staff at PHS, as well as former local high school standouts who have gone to play college ball, including Mallory Brooks of Warren Local, a star at Wheeling Liberty, and former Big Reds Devin Hoehn (West Liberty) Ben Umpleby (Charleston), Precious Ramsey (Ohio Northern), Tori Wilson (Marietta College) and Taylor Fordyce (West Liberty).
DeMoss brings in guest speakers, such as Parkersburg Chief of Police Joe Martin, who talks about such subjects as treating others with respect. This camp doesn't teach just basketball lessons, it also manages to spend
On the final day of camp, each camper receives a detailed report card, evaluating each part of their game so that they will know the areas on which they need to improve.
DeMoss knows it takes a lot of labor to put on a week-long camp, but after 15 years it is a labor of love.