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HUNTINGTON — Marshall head basketball coach Dan D’Antoni sat at Cam Henderson Center with a smile on his face and a relaxed demeanor.

For D’Antoni, this was as good as vacation.

“This is my vacation,” D’Antoni said. “I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing: watching basketball.”

Friday marked the first of two days for Marshall basketball’s Team Camp, which finishes up on Saturday.

In all, 71 teams from 50 different schools (some have varsity and JV teams) are taking part in the event, which features five courts at three different venues. Those venues are Cam Henderson Center, Gullickson Hall and three courts at the Marshall Rec Center.

Many of the teams were within two hours of Marshall’s campus with Spring Valley, Fairland and Tolsia being the most local teams involved.

Others involved include Logan, Chapmanville, Tug Valley, Mingo Central, Point Pleasant and Charleston Catholic.

The competition was not limited to those areas, however, with several teams making long trips to Huntington, based on the quality of play.

Teams such as Peninsula Catholic from Norfolk, Virginia, and several Ohio teams, including Pickerington Central and Dublin Jerome also made the trek to get in some work in front of D’Antoni and his staff.

“The biggest thing that they know is that when they come out here, they are going to get Marshall’s coaches out here looking at them,” D’Antoni said. “The quality of competition is set up well and Neal Scaggs and Fisher Cross, along with Mark Cline, do a great job of making this team-friendly. It’s all good for Marshall because we’re introducing a bunch of kids to our university.”

While he’s a veteran head coach at the college level now, D’Antoni said this camp takes him back to his days at Socastee High School in South Carolina when he was a high school head coach, too.

“I like basketball at any level and it reminds me of coaching high school when I did,” D’Antoni said. “The look on their faces and enjoying watching real young kids compete and the coaches invest their time to help them, I can’t think of much of anything that’s better.”

D’Antoni has often recruited the area — especially the state of West Virginia — so his appearance wasn’t just token in fashion. The camp gave him a chance to observe several local teams at once while mentioning to his staff who they need to keep an eye on for later.

“Do we see some young talent? Yeah. There goes one right there,” D’Antoni said as Logan was on the floor against Beckley. “There’s another one out here that’s 6-8 and skinny but he’s just a sophomore, so we’ll be looking for him later on. It’s good for us to see these kids.”

The camp will finish up on Saturday with several more local teams, such as Wayne and Coal Grove, also joining the mix for the final day of competition.

Games involved 18-minute halves with running clocks until the final minute of play in each half.

Some of Friday’s top matchups included Logan-Beckley, Spring Valley-Charleston Catholic, Tug Valley-Point Pleasant and Dublin Jerome-Chapmanville.

Grant Traylor is the sports editor of The Herald-Dispatch, who also covers Marshall athletics for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter @GrantTraylor.

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