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Binghamton Bulldogs bring kids back on the court

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(WBNG) -- The Binghamton Bulldogs summer camp began this week, giving kids the chance to practice their skills with some of the best players in the American Basketball Association.

When owner Jimmy Evans learned camps were allowed this summer, he adjusted the format to give kids an opportunity to safely play the game.

"We had to rewrite our curriculum completely to make sure we had an entire camp full of drills that maintain the six foot social distancing," said Evans.

Unlike past summers, there are no scrimmages or one-on-one play. All drills are done individually, and kids use their own basketballs.

Bulldogs Director of Operations Meribeth Derkach told 12 News,"we record temperatures for each kid when they come in, make sure they hand sanitize. We have hand sanitize breaks every 15 minutes."

Bulldogs point guard and camp director Chris Cartwright said the kids seem even more focused this summer. "They were re-motivated, re-energized, ready to go," said Cartwright. "There's no joking around. Some of the kids you can tell with their faces, they've got their game face on."

Cartwright says they've gotten creative to keep the kids engaged, which can be difficult without scrimmages. Cartwright said the groups do "air high-fives, elbows, fake fist pumps, jumping up in the air, doing a big team jump" to get excited.

This summer, Evans says Bulldogs camp goes beyond basketball.

"Being able to work out is important for the mental health of kids, I fully believe that," said Evans. "So being able to have them in the gym and do that is very rewarding and a good feeling for us."

Bulldogs camp runs four weeks, and spots are still open. For more information, visit the Binghamton Bulldogs website.

Nicole Menner

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