By Josh Troy
The new Coahoma Community College women’s basketball coaching staff has been on the job for less than two months but is already putting together activities to build relationships with the community.
Lady Tigers head coach Shanae Williams organized a basketball camp for boys and girls in first through sixth grade. The camp will be held at The Pinnacle at CCC from 8 a.m. to noon on July 19. The cost is $25, and signups will begin at around 7:30 a.m. on the day of the camp. Anyone needing more information may email Williams at email@example.com.
Lady Tigers assistant coach Quinton Pippen will be providing basketball training to kids of all ages at The Pinnacle at CCC. He calls his training program “No Days Off With Pippen Elite” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Williams said the camp she is leading on July 19 will be an opportunity for kids to do a lot of work but also have fun in a not-too-serious and stressful environment at the same time. “We’re going to just try to help with their fundamentals although it’s just one day,” she said. “We’re going to be very limited. You can’t teach every aspect of the game of basketball within four hours, but we’ll just try to focus on form shooting, ball handling, defensive stance, and helping build their confidence. I think that’s a huge thing at that age.”
Williams hopes the kids will be able to build a relationship with the CCC basketball program at a young age. “I think a big thing essentially while we’re doing it is to build a connection within the community with the different elementary schools and middle schools to get those student-athletes and those young people to see us, know who we are, be able to put a face to the name, and possibly want to be a future Lady Tiger or Tiger,” she said.
Williams said members of the community have already reached out asking her how they could support the camp with T-shirts and in other ways.
Pippen was most recently the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Central Arkansas and had a role in player development. He hopes to be able to develop young athletes in Mississippi in the same way. “I think it’s very important for us to get into the community to get them out to see what we’ve got going on and also just to help the community,” he said. “We’re just trying to give back to the community and also let the community come out and see what we have going on.”
Pippen said he will be teaching young athletes skill development, left and right-hand dribbling, shooting and layup drills, defense, mentality, and all different aspects of the game. He added that there will be opportunities to play one-on-one basketball. “So we’re going to work on all those small things to help them understand when those mechanics are not right, they’re going to understand why it’s not right,” he said.
A common mistake children playing basketball make, according to Pippen, is that they do not dribble with the hand that is not dominant when they need to. “They usually dominate with their right or left hand, whatever they are,” Pippen said. Pippen said he will help children use the hand that is not dominant when dribbling or going to the basket for layups.
The Lady Tigers are not only getting out into the community; they are engaging in activities to bond with one another. One member of the community hosted a swimming party for the team, another family took the Lady Tigers out for a team dinner, and Pippen grilled for the girls. “We’re doing that because we told the girls when they first came in that we want to win off the court first,” Williams said. “If we’re able to win off the court and build that camaraderie and build those relationships, then the on-court stuff will take care of itself.”
Williams said team activities will build sisterhoods and bonds, and college teammates become lifelong friends. Williams first played college basketball at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Ark., and then Delta State University in Cleveland. Pippen played for Missouri State University-West Plains and then Chicago State University. “Relationships outside of basketball go a long way as far as how your team achieves their goals,” Pippen said. “I think if the girls are together and they’re one unit, your team can go a long way. But if your team is separated and everyone is all different directions, I think you won’t have a lot of success in the game of basketball. I think that’s big for us doing a lot of outside activities for these girls so they can have that bond with each other.”
The Lady Tigers have 12 athletes on the roster. A tryout was held in June, and shooting guards Robynn Jennings from Kemper County High School and Shari’a Davis from Cleveland Central High School earned spots on the team. “I think we’re deep in every position. I think that’ll be our biggest strength,” Williams said. “We have a strong team. I think we’ll have good people coming off the bench.”
“Our team is very deep,” said Pippen in agreement. “We cover a lot of different aspects of the game. We’ve got bigs. We’ve got point guards. We’ve got shooters. We’ve got defenders. So I think it’s not one thing we can say we’re good at. We’re great at a lot of different areas with the type of players we have.”
A new floor was recently installed in The Pinnacle, and the coaches felt it would benefit the Lady Tigers. “Just by us watching film from the last couple of years and seeing the floor and seeing it now, we’re very excited to get on the floor, to get some wins,” Pippen said. “I think the floor, along with our home court crowd, I think that’s going to give us a great advantage to win some games.”