HUNTINGTON — The hoops in Maine fall mostly on the … whoops.
As it turns out, the only NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball programs located in the Pine Tree State are the University of Maine Black Bears located in Orono.
So, is it any surprise that Edward Little High School’s basketball program in Auburn, Maine, decided not to go to the University of Maine’s summer basketball camp?
I mean, where’s the thrill in that?
Auburn is only 116 miles from the University of Maine, so most of Edward Little’s players have likely made that trip of one hour and 49 minutes many times.
That’s why coach Mike Adams, an adventurous sort by nature, likes to show his players as much of the United States as possible.
And, yes, that includes wild, wonderful West Virginia.
Edward Little High School’s basketball team and coaches traveled 933 miles in vans to bring three teams comprised of 30 players to Marshall University’s basketball camp last week.
“You know, that’s a great thing,” said Adams. “Every year we go to a different team camp throughout the country. We’ve been to Old Dominion [Norfolk, Virginia] and N.C. State [Raleigh, North Carolina] and closer to our neck of the woods is Princeton in New Jersey.”
But why Marshall’s camp?
“I mean, who doesn’t know the story of Marshall?” said Adams incredulously. “What a great opportunity. We try to bring our kids out as far as we can to have them experience the world.”
What a great perspective.
Which comes as no surprise, since it seemed to be part and parcel of Adams’ personality.
“The game that we just played?” said Adams rhetorically. “That’s just fun. But traveling 15 hours to get here in the vans? Most people would say that’s a pain in the butt. Why would you do that? And at the age of 47, it is a pain in the butt.
“But it’s the memories. They’re going to remember this forever. It’s a great time.”
The interesting part is Adams was wearing a “Wolfpack” T-shirt from N.C. State while he coached Edward Little to a lopsided win in the Marshall Recreation Center.
When Adams learned that N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts is a former Marshall Thundering Herd assistant coach, he smiled from ear to ear.
“We went there two years ago and had a great time,” said Adams. “Marshall, they run a top-notch summer program. It’s really good.”
Then, Adams paused while searching for the phrase he was trying to find.
“Southern hospitality at its finest,” said Adams in his noticeable Maine dialect, featuring an “er” pronounced as “ah.” “They’ve done a great job. Our boys are having a great time.”
That’s precisely what Neal Scaggs, Marshall men’s basketball director of operations, wants to hear. Especially considering Marshall’s summer team camps will start up again at 9 a.m. Friday in the Cam Henderson Center, Gullickson Hall and MU Recreation Center.
This will be Marshall basketball’s “High School Shootout.”
The combination of Marshall’s Team Camp, Middle School Shootout and, now, High School Shootout is expected to bring 73 teams to Huntington.
But only one came all the way from Maine.
And, yes, Adams and his Edward Little High School players were quite a treat.
Ayuh, they were.