The late Morgan Wootten didn’t just help shape the lives of his basketball players and history students at DeMatha Catholic. He touched thousands of lives through his annual basketball camp.
According to this report, Wootten didn’t just preside over the camp. He lived in the dorms with campers and ate meals with them.
A friend who was an outstanding high school basketball player has first-hand knowledge of Wootten’s camp. He writes:
I attended [coach Wootten’s] two-week Metropolitan Basketball Camp at St. John’s College HS in July ’65 and learned more basketball in those two weeks than I did in my combined years [playing in high school and in college] or so it seemed. That basketball camp was unquestionably one of the happiest periods of my life.
The camp organization was exceptional and the daily classroom training sessions taught by first-rate coaches from across the country were spellbinding, the highlight of the camp. I cherished and looked forward to those 1-hour sessions every day.
That’s why Pete Strickland, who played for and coached with Wootten before becoming a college coach says:
There was nobody that impacted the game more than him — there’s just nobody — because of the camp and the numbers that he had at camp every year in a major metropolitan area. John Wooden certainly had an impact, but he wasn’t with kids every summer.
Morgan Wootten was, and I doubt that any kid who was there with him has ever forgotten the experience.