By Brendan Samuels
In fact, three of them came together at once, not to play, but to help usher in the next generation of athletes in Oceana County with a four-day camp that began on Monday, July 17 and ran through Thursday, July 20.
Brothers Danny and Jason Beckman acted as assistants to their cousin Jeff – all of whom played for the Tigers in years past – as four hours’ worth of basketball knowledge was passed on. The face of Shelby’s boys basketball Rick Zoulek was in attendance as well, though he took a bit of a back seat to allow his former players the opportunity to do their own thing.
“It’s really special to have (the Beckmans) here,” Zoulek said. “Danny is still local, but to get all three of them to come back without asking is a really great thing. The kids are all having a great time and it makes a huge difference for them to have the chance to get in the gym and learn.”
All ages were represented at the camp as high school and middle school kids kicked off the day with a two-hour morning session. Elementary age kids had their own two-hour session in the afternoon as well.
Jeff took the reins of the camp, which comes as no surprise due to his coaching background. After winning an NAIA National Championship with Spring Arbor University in 2019, Jeff went on to be an assistant coach for the Cougars. Now, Jeff is beginning a new venture as a high school coach for Western High School in Parma, Mich.
The camp allowed Jeff to give back to the community, get a taste of coaching in a high school gym and pick the mind of his former mentor all in one go.
“Coming back here is always nice and the kids have just been great,” Jeff said. “They all come in here and you can just see how excited they are, especially the younger ones. Getting to help teach them is special and it’s also nice to be around the high school age because I’m getting ready to coach my first year at that level.”
As for brothers Danny and Jason, it was a chance to return to their roots.
Danny spent time playing at Hope College alongside Jason. Since moving on from the college ranks, Jason has been playing professionally overseas and was recently inducted into the Shelby High School Athletics Hall of Fame.
With the camp now finished, Zoulek will turn his attention to the high school-aged athletes once more as he prepares for another season at the helm of the Tigers.
“We didn’t get a lot of guys out to this camp from the team, but the guys that did come are getting a little extra work,” Zoulek said. “It’s going to be a great help to them when they can get into the gym and work with guys like Jeff, Danny and Jason who have been where they are.”