As the basketball campers sat on the bleachers at Riverview Park Activities Center, Clint Bryant stood in front of them, demanding their attention.
“Clap,” he said, receiving a noisy response. “Double clap. Triple clap.”
The Georgia Regents University Athletic Director wrapped up his 25th – and final – basketball camp Friday. Through the years, he’s entertained a who’s who of local basketball players, including William Avery, William Cunningham, Ricky Moore and Ty Shine.
Through the years, his camp has featured notable speakers, ranging from Alex English to Grant Hill to Dereck Whittenburg, the N.C. State player who fired the air ball Lorenzo Charles dunked home to win the 1983 NCAA championship.
Players have received the same organized camps, featuring games and skill instruction year after year.
“It’s the same thing. The same speeches,” said Joe Keep, a Glenn Hills Middle School girls basketball coach who has been with Bryant for every camp. “From 25 years ago to today, everything has been the same.”
Bryant, who led the Jaguars from 1988-97, began his camp in the late ’80s at the old gym on the Augusta College campus. Then, he moved to the YMCA and then to Christenberry Fieldhouse. One year, the camp topped 200 players, with Bryant moving baskets outside to accommodate the players.
In the mid-’90s, he moved the camp to North Augusta, where he capped his camp at 160 players. This year, Bryant said he had about 60 girls and boys.
“I guess (former Paine coach) Ron Spry and I were the only ones doing camps back in the day,” Bryant said. “Now, there’s a lot more camps. There’s just more choices.”
Bryant considered retiring his camp last year, but his wife and daughters persuaded him to finish after his 25. He said he’ll miss interacting with children, but added it’s time to step aside.
“What I’ve always loved about the camp is you have kids who come from low-income families to kids that might live in million-dollar homes,” he said. “The wonderful thing about camp is you take kids from different backgrounds, different ethnicities and you see them working together as a team. That’s what I’m going to miss more than anything else.”