Summer Basketball Now a Must for Area Players

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Panama City, FL---Gulf Coast State College is it's annual Summer Hoops Camp where teams from all over Florida and Georgia can get some real game experience.

This is yet another key example of how the word "off season" no longer exists, even in high school athletics.

Rutherford Head Coach Rhondie Ross says this can be one of the more pivotal points of the season,

"Summer is one of my favorite times of the year because I feel like guys really improve in the summertime and it gives some of our younger players who may not have that experience moving up from the J.V. to get an opportunity to play against Varsity level competition in the summer."

And rising Rutherford Senior Khaliel Spearman isn't complaining about playing too much, in fact, he might argue the opposite,

"I wouldn't trade this for anything in the world. I'd rather be with my team. I mean, when we go back in July for the AAU I won't be with them no more so it's always a good experience to be with my team and get better with them."

Fort Walton Beach's Head Coach John Lavin weighs in his opinion, saying playing this much basketball can almost be considered a necessary evil,

"Yeah, kids are being pulled in every direction. You got football, 7 on 7 camps, you have team camp, you have baseball, it seems like everywhere. So if you're not doing something in basketball you're pretty much going to lose out."

An off season is something Coach Ross has never known, and as he will explain, for a good reason,

"Well it's kind of the norm so I don't know if it's an advantage or not but we've always done that at Rutherford because everyone else is doing it. If you're not in the gym then you're going to fall behind."