CMU women’s basketball team provides fundamentals, guidance in camp

Marsai Martinez, 7, of Grand Junction handles a ball at the ‘Lil Swishers Basketball Camp at Colorado Mesa University. TheCMU women’s team taught fundamental to more than 50-second and eighth-grade girls



The concept of running a five-man weave is difficult to grasp at first.

Putting that concept into motion was even more challenging for a group of elementary school girls Monday, but after a few do-overs, they got it.

“Here, you pass the ball, and then you run behind the other two,” Colorado Mesa University junior guard Lindsey Shaw patiently instructed a group of third- and fourth-graders during the women’s CMU Lil’ Swishers Day Camp at Brownson Arena. “There you go, you’ve got it!”

About 50 girls in grades 2-8 attended the half-day camp on their final day of winter vacation.

They learned passing, shooting and defensive fundamentals, then spent a few minutes asking questions and learning about being a college athlete.

Then came more advanced work, including the five-man and three-man weave.

“Three-man weave in a camp,” senior guard Effo Baker said of her first experience of the full-court passing drill. “I was probably in second or third grade. It was awful.

“You go back to when you first did it and it’s kind of comical.”

The college players had as much fun as their young pupils, who left the gym with some new skills, a CMU basketball T-shirt and a ticket to the Mavs’ home game Jan. 19 against Western State Colorado University.

During the group discussions, the older players asked about earning scholarships, and junior forward Hanna Bowden explained what constitutes a “major” and “minor” field of study.

Baker loved talking with her group of second-graders — college was the furthest thing from their minds.

“It was a full-blown conversation the whole time about birthdays, cupcakes and rainbows,” she said. “It was so funny. It was better than asking me about what it’s like to be a college player. I would much rather talk about (cupcakes and rainbows).”

BURGON’S BACK

In October, Chandler Burgon, his right arm in a sling, talked about his goal of being back on the basketball court in late January.

After surgery to repair a severely torn labrum in late September, Burgon’s goal seemed a bit lofty. He hoped to be ready to play the final couple of weekends of the regular season, definitely by senior weekend March 1-2, so he could finish his career with his brother, Colton.

Monday, about 3 1/2 months after surgery, the 6-foot-8 senior center was running the floor with the Colorado Mesa University men’s basketball team, and even had a couple of soft two-handed dunks.

“I told everyone it was my goal to be back by the end of January. I’ve had a lot of support and prayers and hard work and sometimes you get lucky,” Burgon said after the Mavs’ one-hour workout.

He’s been shooting and running every day at practice, but admitted he’s not anywhere near game shape.

That’s why he and Chris Ellis, a former Maverick post player who is a physical therapist at Western Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, are working out together every morning the next two weeks.

“You can do a thousand post moves with no one guarding you and make every one, but as soon as someone steps on (the floor), it all changes a little bit,” Burgon said.

Burgon and CMU trainer Geana Gaasch worked every day to rehabilitate his shoulder. Ellis checked his progress Friday afternoon and Dr. Mitch Copeland, who performed the surgery, saw Burgon before Friday night’s game and gave him the go-ahead to practice.

Burgon said he’s had no pain, but his shoulder gets fatigued during drills.

It’s not a huge surprise he’s been released this quickly, Ellis said, but “it’s not usually what you hear about.”

“I think you give a lot of credit to the surgeon, a lot of credit to the training staff and to the player individually,” said Ellis, who graduated from Mesa in 2002. “It’s usually a surgery that is more of a six-month type thing, but you’ve got a motivated person who wants to get back playing and is doing all the right things along the way.”

Burgon’s target game is Jan. 19 against Western State at Brownson Arena.

“We’ll go this week and next week and hopefully I surprise people,” Burgon said.

DEFENSIVE HONOR

Colton Burgon helped hold the RMAC’s leading scorer, Colorado School of Mines center Trevor Wages, without a point Saturday night in the Mavericks’ 75-56 victory.

Monday, Burgon, a 6-8 senior forward from Sandy, Utah, was selected the men’s RMAC defensive player of the week.

Western State’s Terrence Boyd, who averaged 20.5 points a game against Colorado Christian and Colorado Mines, is the offensive player of the week.

Emily Wood of Metro State is the women’s offensive player of the week and Ashey Kuchar of Fort Lewis the defensive player of the week.


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