MAN — It’s been many years since Man High School has hosted a summer basketball camp.
Actually decades, according to Man coach TJ Blevins.
That’s about to change this week as Man High School will host the first-ever Hustlin’ Hillbillies Basketball Camp at the Man Memorial Fieldhouse, July 28-30.
The camp, for boys an girls ages 5-14, is scheduled to run from 10 am to 2 pm each day. The cost is $40 per camper.
Man, which won its first ever state championship in basketball just two months ago, is expected to have a nice draw for its camp, book ended by the Billies’ success on the hardwood.
To further the buzz about the camp, WVU senior basketball player Sean McNeil is scheduled to make an appearance on July 30 on the last day to speak to the campers. He’s expected to arrive in Logan on July 29 and spend a night in a hotel there.
“It’s been a long time since Man has had a camp,” Blevins said. “When I was little there were a couple of camps but nothing like what we’ve got right now. It’s probably only one of the few times that an actual guy from West Virginia University has come down. When I was in the Buddy League we had Owen Schmidt in for about an hour. But to have Sean McNeil come in this is huge for our area.”
McNeil, a 6-foot-3 guard from Union, Kentucky, had a good season for the Mountaineers during the 2020-21 campaign, averaging 12.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and shooting nearly 41% from the floor. Also WVU’s top 3-point shooter, he canned 69 treys on the season.
McNeil had declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft but withdrew and will be going back to Morgantown for his senior season.
He had previously played at Sinclair Junior College, pouring in 40 and 55 points in two games and drawing the interest from WVU about transfering.
“We were checking into having some older guys like Kevin Pittsnoggle but the kids don’t really relate to him because it’s been a while,” Blevins said. “McNeil is currently on the roster there. The kids will be excited to have him. We’ve gotten some really good feedback on social media. I’ve had a lot of phone calls.”
Blevins’ Man High School players will also be present at the camp and will serve as camp counselors/instructors.
“My high school kids are happy to have him (McNeil) and have this camp,” he said. “They’re excited to work it because we’ve never done anything like this. It’s new and it’s a learning process for us. Hopefully, this is something that can stay around for quite awhile and hopefully we can make this a good atmosphere for everyone.”
Blevins said hopes to get a Marshall player to come down to the camp as well.
“We’re hoping to get a Marshall player come down on the 29th,” he said. “But not sure that they will be able to make it. That would be a little bit of something extra if we can get that done.”
Blevins said he thinks the camp will be a lot of fun for the area youth.
“We’ll start an hour earlier on Wednesday. That way we can get everyone’s T-shirt sizes,” he said. “It should be a good turnout. If one kid shows up that’s fine with me because that’s one more than we have ever had.”
McNeil is one of six newcomers on the WVU roster.
Those six newcomers join a team that returns eight scholarship players from last year’s squad (the class status for each individual reflects the fact that the NCAA didn’t count last season on a student-athlete’s eligibility clock because of COVID): Jalen Bridges (6-7, 220, redshirt freshman), Isaiah Cottrell (6-10, 240, freshman), Kedrian Johnson (6-3, 180, junior), Seny N’diay (6-10, 235, freshman), Gabe Osabuohien (6-7, 235, senior), Taz Sherman (6-4, 190, senior) and Taj Thweat (6-7, 210, freshman).
True freshmen Seth Wilson (6-foot-3, 185 pounds) and Kobe Johnson (6-4, 207) entered the University in June, as did Florida International grad transfer Dimon Carrigan (6-9, 215). The three other new pieces of the class of 2021 arrived in Morgantown recently with DePaul grad transfer Pauly Paulicap (6-8, 225), Old Dominion grad transfer Malik Curry (6-1, 180) and true freshman Jamel King (6-7, 190) each enrolling at WVU the past couple of weeks.