Troup coach returns to West Point

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, July 19, 2018

By kevin eckleberry

Daily News

It’s like going home.

Before Carla Thornton became a basketball star at Callaway High, she lived in West Point, and she spent countless hours in the gymnasium at the community’s recreation center.

When Thornton became the head coach at Troup, she wanted to do something for her former town, so she decided to hold a week-long youth camp in West Point each summer, and that’s what she has done.

This year’s camp kicked off on Monday and will go through Friday, and 14 boys and girls have come out to learn the sport from Thornton, as well as one of her players, Amber Gilbert.

Thornton offers the camp in conjunction with West Point Parks and Recreation.

“You never forget where you come from,” Thornton said. “I grew up in this building. This is where I got my start. So I want to give people that same opportunity. Hopefully one of them will fall in love with basketball.”

Thornton always has one of her players help out during the camp.

This year she recruited Gilbert, a post player who will be Troup’s top returning player next season.

“I try to get someone who I’m looking to be a leader on my team,” Thornton said. “I have them come and try to help kids. It teaches you patience. It teaches you how to talk to people, and not talk at them so they understand things. So we’re working on her leadership ability. And she’s maturing a lot.”

Thornton said one of her missions this week is to make sure the campers enjoy the sport while also learning a few things.

“We’re bringing fun back this week,” she said. “Sometimes you get caught up and it’s more of a job than a game. This is my week to focus on it just being a game.”

Thornton added that “I’m more of a defensive coach, but at this age it’s about having fun, and keeping it fresh, and keeping them engaged.”

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