SAN ANTONIO – Nevil Shed has seen and done almost everything.
Years after helping the Texas Western men’s basketball team win the 1966 NCAA Championship in an historic showdown with Kentucky, the basketball icon has established roots in San Antonio where he works as the camp director for the Spurs youth basketball camps. These programs have hosted hundreds of kids from San Antonio and the world at large from ages 6-18 all summer long, and the last two weeks have featured training sessions at UIW and Mission Concepcion Sports Park.
Shed was on the court Tuesday afternoon. He is currently in the midst of his 36th year working the camps, and he thinks decade No. 4 is just as fun and exciting as the first three.
“It’s scary sometimes because somebody will walk over to me and say, ‘Do you remember me?’ I say, ‘Keep talking,’ and they say, ‘I was in a camp in 1980-something, and now I’m bringing my kids to you,’” Shed explained. “It’s not just from the great state of Texas. They come from all over the United States and other countries, from Mexico to Columbia and China. That’s the kind of brand the Spurs have, and we continue to try to make our camp even better every year.”
“Coach Shed has a saying: We never say goodbye, we always say ‘To be continued.’” Our Lady of the Lake head coach David Smith said. “We’re watching these kids grow, trying to feed them, nurture them and give them everything they need to become greater people, not just basketball players. Basketball is just the tool we’re using. It’s a way bigger picture.”
This marks Smith’s 7th season serving as an assistant coach with the camp, and OLLU is one of several local colleges represented on the coaching staff. Current athletes and coaches from Trinity and St. Mary’s are also lending their time and energy towards helping the camp’s attendees grow throughout a five-day, overnight schedule.
“It’s like going down memory lane,” OLLU sophomore guard Xavier Purnell said. “When I was a kid, I used to go to camps like this, and I used to have a lot of fun. We did drills for a couple hours, we played games... This experience has helped me on both sides. There are things that we teach these kids that I still go through.”
“I remember when I was a kid, and I remember the names of all the coaches who helped me at the youth camps,” Trinity senior guard Ben Hanley said. “They really had an impact on me and my love of the game, so being able to come back here and hopefully have the same impact on these kids as those coaches had on me is a super cool experience.”
The camp will conclude this Friday. For more information on available camps, click here.