Call it a sneak peek.
That's what Springstead High boys basketball coach Greg O'Connell got this past week when he hosted the 12th annual O'Connell Basketball School at the Eagles gym in Spring Hill.
About half of the current Springstead High School players have attended the school in previous years, O'Connell said. And this year's crop of campers contained several who could find themselves in Eagles uniforms in seasons to come, including some who will be freshmen this fall.
"This group here, especially the up-and-coming ninth-graders, there's a little bit of ability there," O'Connell said. "I'm pretty happy. There's four or five who've impressed me a whole bunch.
"Like I told them, this is when I begin to discover you this is your chance for me to start taking a look at you, and when we have tryouts I'll already know what the kids from the camp can do."
For evidence, O'Connell cites the case of senior-to-be Rocky Eulo, who is expected to take over the starting point guard role for the Eagles next season.
"I kind of discovered him at my camp," O'Connell said. "I was able to put him on JV right away because I knew what he could do."
About 50 youths _ boys and girls ages 8-14 _ took part in the camp last Monday through Friday. They practiced fundamentals and watched films in the mornings, then competed in contests (jump shooting, free-throw shooting, one-on-one) and scrimmaged in the afternoons.
The school, one of several youth basketball camps offered in Hernando County during June, has doubled in size since O'Connell founded it.