Like all basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse, Roy Williams' summer instructional camp is a sellout.
Applications for the 450 or so available slots for each of the three sessions closed in mid-April. The 75 or so instructors also committed about the same time.
"Hot" is definitely a word to describe Williams' camp, and not just because temperatures in the fieldhouse and other city gyms often top the 80-degree mark.
"We could have taken another 1,000 kids this year," Williams said. "We don't have the dorm space. We don't have the gym space."
Also, Williams is committed to the 8- to 17-year-old players receiving individual instruction. He says he will not let the camp expand to uncontrollable numbers.
"I ONCE was at a camp where there was one coach for every 22 players. He didn't know our names and we had 11 on a team," Williams said. "Here, I'm committed to one coach every eight players, with no more than seven on a team. I've been at camps where there are 120 kids in a gym. The most in ours at one time is 56. I want all the kids to play and the coaches to know them."
Williams recently tried to identify the reasons for his camp's success:
"The first is the success of Kansas basketball. There are a lot of kids who are Kansas fans out there," Williams said. "The second reason is you hear reports about how organized it is. We don't do things by chance. The parents feel secure. It's a teaching camp. The message is out it's a great camp for fundamentals."
It's also a camp with Williams' personal stamp on it.
"I eat breakfast with the kids. I visit all the gyms every day," said Williams who uses about 10 gyms around town. "I want it known it's a fact the camp is important to me. It's really a struggle for me that I have to miss a week this year."
BECAUSE OF his duties coaching USA Basketball's Under 22 team, he missed last week's initial session.
Parents needn't have worried about a dropoff, however. KU administrative assistant Joe Holladay, who ran Williams' camp last summer, is in charge of all three sessions (the other two are July 25-30 and Aug. 1-6) again this year. Holladay has everything under control.
"Coach Williams' camp is first class, just like the basketball program," says Holladay, the former basketball coach and athletic director at Jenks High in suburban Tulsa, Okla. "It takes a lot of planning. There's a lot of work that goes into it. Coach Williams has a personal commitment to making this the best camp around."
HOLLADAY OUTLINED activities a camper could expect at the Roy Williams Kansas Basketball Camp:
Campers register at Naismith and Oliver halls from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Then they meet at 6:30 p.m. That's when all the rules are mapped out. Camp starts Sunday night.
On mornings during the week, campers work on fundamentals.
"Shooting, defense, offensive skills and team play," Holladay said. "The neat thing about this camp is all the coaches are teaching the same thing. Whether an 8-year-old or 17-year-old . . . only the degree of difficulty is different."
After lunch, the players gather at Allen Fieldhouse to watch films or listen to guest speakers. During free time, they're allowed to take a dip in the Naismith Hall pool.
At night, they take part in games. Each camper participates in a doubleheader every night. They're all in bed by 11 p.m.
Applications and fees -- boarding camp tuition is $325; day camp $230 -- start pouring in during January, with everything filled by April. The cost includes room and board, partial medical insurance, camp uniform and a basketball. Day camp offers everything except room and breakfast.
"IF KIDS didn't come back, we wouldn't be doing a good job," Holladay said. "Kids spread the word and hopefully bring a friend back with them."
He explained the camp phenomenon.
"There's more to it than basketball. Kids learn how to get along in a camp situation," Holladay said. "Parents know the kids will be well-supervised."
There's also the Allen Fieldhouse factor.
"How many young basketball players in Kansas have a dream of playing in Allen Fieldhouse?" Holladay said. "All our campers have a chance to play in there."
Williams said he knows he runs a good camp, just by the feedback he receives.
"I was at Pinehurst (Golf Club in North Carolina) recently and a guy came up to me and said, 'I had you at camp.' Kids pass me on campus and say they were at the camp. The bottom line is the camp means a lot to me. I want to make sure there's a good camp experience for all the kids. Our second goal is to teach 'em basketball."