Most people were well aware that when Darren Pappas was hired to be the head coach of the Mexico varsity boys basketball team there wasn't going to be another search for that posiition for quite some time.
Instead, the influence of he and his coaching staff was going to be felt throughout the community on a regular basis whether or not it was basketball season and the first sign of that is already taking place with the skills camp he and his staff are hosting for boys in grades three through eight from June 4-7.
"We chose grades three through eight for our skills camp because we feel that learning the fundamentals of the game at these ages are most important," said Pappas. "If players can develop a good foundation of fundamentals at an early age then by the time they play in high school we can fine tune their skill sets and focus our efforts on offensive/defensive schemes. Myself, Coach (Dion) Nunnelly and Coach (Brendan) Schafer will all be helping out with the camp."
The specifics of this event include athletes in grades three through five attending from 3:30-5:00 p.m. while individuals in grades six through eight will be on the court from 5-6:30 p.m. Cost is $20, in order to get a t-shirt students must RSVP by May 31 and prizes will be available by way of daily competitions.
"All funds raised from camp will be used for our high school summer basketball program so we can go and play in shootouts around the area during the month of June.," Pappas said. "Any remaining funds will be used to purchase new team gear for the 2018-2019 season."
One important thing to look for on the flyer/permission slip, which can be found several places, including, https://twitter.com/coachdpappas, is the Bulldogs team motto. That slogan is, "Class, Pride, Tradition", and it dictates the direction the program is taking on every level.
"We are developing a first CLASS basketball program which will produce top notch successful young men on and off the basketball court. Student athletes will respect themselves, adults, opponents, educators, and the game of basketball," said Pappas. "We are going to teach them skills they can use in everyday life. We want our players to have PRIDE when playing for the Bulldogs and beyond their playing days. Student athletes will develop self discipline and work ethic. We want our guys to give back to the community of Mexico well after their playing days and be proud of being an MHS alum."
Lastly, we want to continue the rich winning TRADITION both on the basketball court and in their future endeavors. Student athletes will display those traditions and continue those winning ways throughout their future careers."
While there may be some variation to this list come event day, there will also be current Mexico basketball players in attendance at this camp. This includes Seniors Jai Lawson, Taylor Bledsoe, Cole Whalen, JaSean White. Juniors Zach Watkins, Keyon Mahaney, Lane Cook, Isiah Cockrell, Manny Hernandez are also planning to attend, as are sophomores: Raef Yager, Ty Prince, Jesse Fennewald, Dante Billups, Matthew Huemann and Ian Williams.
"Former players that I think will be in attendance - Issac Troy (plays at Central Methodist University), Tyler Spargo and Matthew Huffman," Pappas said. "What's next for our high school program after basketball camp is getting in the weight room throughout the summer, working on our individual skill sets, competing at the LaPlata Shootouts, the Central Methodist University Shootouts, scrimmaging local area schools and competing in the Licking Basketball Camps which we will be hosting."