Two Juneau-Douglas High School senior boys basketball players -- forward-guard Ryan Monagle and guard Julius "Junior" Cumlat -- shared co-Most Valuable Player honors at the Wayne Morgan Basketball Camp held Aug. 13-17 at Long Beach State University in California.
Monagle and Cumlat were the only two Alaska players at the individual skills improvement camp. The camp featured about 50 high school basketball players with most of them from Southern California, said JDHS assistant coach Robert Casperson, who was also at the camp as a coach.
"Ryan and Junior opened some eyes," Casperson said. "They were impressive with their hustle, their work ethic and their coachability. I had a lot of positive feedback on their attitude. I had one NAIA coach tell me he would recruit them on their attitudes alone, and I had a couple of other coaches second that opinion."
Casperson said the players were broken onto seven-player teams, and each team played two 40-minute games each day. The players also worked on four basic skills -- with a hot shot drill (similar to the two-ball competition during the NBA's All-Star week where players shoot from five different spots on the floor), a 3-point shooting drill, a one-on-one drill and a free-throw shooting drill.
Monagle and Cumlat were on different teams during the week, but their respective teams both making the camp's championship game. Monagle's team won the title in sudden-death overtime, with the first points scored in the extra period winning the game.
"The thing for Ryan and Junior is their teams would not have played each other for the championship if not for those two guys," Casperson said. "They weren't the most skilled or the most athletic players there, but they did everything they needed to do to help their teams win."
Monagle and Cumlat shared the camp's MVP honors, and Cumlat also earned the best defense award. Monagle took second place in the hot shot competition, Cumlat won the 3-point shooting event, and Monagle edged Cumlat 5-4 in the championship of the one-on-one competition. Neither player took part in the free throw competition.