The annual Nome-Beltz Nanook Basketball Camp began Wednesday, May 24 at the high school gym.
Students entering grades three through nine took part in the camp, which is led by Nanook boys’ head coach Patrick Callahan and a crew of his high school players.
Nome Beltz High School has made a reputation in recent years for having an outstanding basketball program. All one must do is look at the last two Nome-Beltz Nanook seasons to see that. The Nanooks were crowned state 3A champions in 2022 and were the runners-up in 2023.
More than 50 campers showed up on day one. Head coach Pat Callahan says each of the campers gets group and one-on-one coaching from staff and members of the Nanooks boys’ basketball program.
“It gets the younger players excited about being a Nanook someday,” Callahan said. “The biggest value here is having the high school players, varsity players, coaching the younger kids and having to figure out how the coaching side of it works. I think there’s a lot of learning when they’re teaching. And this is all stuff we want them to do a better job of as well. So, I think there’s a huge value here. These are the role models that these kids look up to.”
One of those student coaches is junior guard Finn Gregg. He played on both Nanook teams that went to the state finals over the past two years.
“It’s to show them the culture, how we like to do things, give them a little preview before our team camp because most will be going with us,” Gregg said. “It’s like a little boot camp to get them prepared mentally for what’s coming up in the next six months or seven months.”
Jocelyn Takak is a freshman at Nome-Beltz. She expects to compete as a Lady Nanook this winter. She says the camp this week has been challenging for one reason in particular.
“We do drills with the boys,” Takak said. “During basketball (season) we don’t, we just play with the girls. The boys challenge us.”
The camp runs through Saturday, May 27.
Image at top: Nanook head coach Patrick Callahan watches as Lane Schuerch (left) and Cole Crowe battle for the ball during a drill. Photo by Greg Knight/KNOM