Stillwater High School basketball coach Michael Davis spends most of his time instructing his players. But for a brief moment Thursday, Davis got to go back to what he really loves — teaching little kids the sport of basketball.
“These little kids, man, they rejuvenate me,” Davis said. “They make me want to coach. Each one of them has a different personality and it’s just a lot of fun.”
With the help of his players and others — including former Oklahoma State player Ivan McFarlin — Davis helped teach future Pioneers the fundamentals of Stillwater basketball over the four-day camp, which concluded Friday.
But while Davis and his coaches do most of the teaching, it’s the younger kids who tend to teach some of Davis’ players.
“It’s funny because (the players) will come up to me and be like, ‘Coach, these kids don’t listen,’” Davis said. “I just smile and say, ‘Ah, I’ve been there before.’ It’s funny to hear them say stuff like that because I think it makes them have a different respect for the job we do as coaches.”
The camp also reminds McFarlin of what it was like to be a kid. McFarlin has been playing overseas for the past few years, but he said every time he comes to the camp he feels that competitive fire again.
“These kids remind me a lot of myself,” McFarlin said. “I was always taller than everybody else, but just watching them enjoy playing basketball makes me feel young again. I feel like I still have that fire that I had when I was their age and when I was at OSU. That’s not something you lose, and I hope these kids never lose that.”
McFarlin said he gets a kick out of seeing all the kids look up to him — both as a role model and as a 6-foot-8 forward.
“Yeah, they always come up to me and ask me how tall I am,” McFarlin said. “It’s just fun to be around them. I’m sure a lot of them weren’t around when I played, but when they hear that I played for OSU they all get really excited.”
For Davis, the best part of the camp is not being able to teach fundamentals to younger kids. It’s seeing players come back year after year.
“It’s funny because we’ve had kids like Caleb Watkins, who has been coming to camp since I’ve been coaching,” Davis said. “Now Caleb played for me last year and will play for me this (upcoming) year. It’s just really interesting to see how far they have come as basketball players.”
As far as the future of the camp goes, Davis says he hopes to continue it for as long as possible — stating that the younger players are what drives him and his coaching staff to put together a quality camp.
“I love what I’m doing,” Davis said. “I just love working with kids. Basketball is what I do. You get to see so many kids at different skill levels. It’s fun to work with all of them, and they all leave a lasting impression on me.”