mcloudyn.png
Monday July 22nd, 2019 6:44AM

Basketball: Youth camp brings out a big Vining smile

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

RABBITTOWN — If you happened to wander over to the East Hall gym this past week, you might have thought you were stuck in some sort of time loop.

Dozens of youth players could be seen scrambling around the gym floor; whistles blowing; coaches barking instructions. And standing tall in the middle of it all was legendary Vikings coach Seth Vining.

Vining guided first the Lady Vikings to back-to-back state titles in 1979 and 1980 and then the boys to state championships in 2001 and 2003 before stepping down following the 2004 season to take over Lakeview Academy. He “officially” retired after spending seven seasons leading the Lions.

Vining has been almost a constant fixture over past half-dozen years at virtually every northeast Georgia gym wherever a big game was expected, whether it be the annual Lanierland Tournament or a crucial region contest.

Yet, here he was leading the East Hall Camp as if he never left. That’s because he came back to Valhalla during the offseason to try and help lead a Vikings program that has fallen back to the pack over the past few seasons back to state prominence.

And you know you must have some kind of “influence” when a pair of assistant principals -- Adam Clark and Josh Chapman -- “volunteer” to help run the week-long camp.

“I didn’t really ask them so much as they wanted to do it,” Vining said. “But having them come in and help -- and being two really good former East Hall players as well -- I think means a lot to the East Hall community and for the kids who are here.”

So, has much changed in the seven years since he traded in his sideline view for a bleacher seat?

“Not really,” he said. “The goal is still to put the ball in the basket and try to score. It’s pretty much the same game it’s always been. If you don’t score, you can’t win.”

Whether it was name recognition or just kids wanting to start their own journey to becoming the next Lebron James, the East Hall Camp attracted 70-plus kids from across Hall County and around northeast Georgia.

That brought out a big smile from Vining, who wasn’t exactly known for flashing his pearly-whites too often while on a court. In fact, the youthfulness of Vining displayed during Thursday’s session was hard to ignore.

“I love being out on the court and being in the gym and being around young people who enjoy the game,” he said. “I enjoy coaching and I have stayed involved some over the past few years. But I have really enjoyed being back here in this gym.

“But maybe the best part has been watching our varsity players work with the younger kids. Youth camps I feel are some of the best things we do each year. The (varsity) players get the chance to teach and grow themselves as players and people. The biggest satisfaction I get is seeing them accept the role of teacher.”

While Vining was not altogether pleased to have the focus centered on him, he did offer some early previews of what Vikings fans could expect in the upcoming 2019-20 campaign.

“We’ve really struggled to score in some early practices and scrimmages we’ve had,” he said. “We’re in a tough region where really everyone will probably be better than they were last year. But the expectations will be high, the same from any of the other teams I’ve coached over the years. That won’t change.

“We have great coaches who are buying into what we want to do. It’s going to take some time. Not everything is the same as when I left seven years ago.”

It was hard to tell, though, as Vining wandered into a crowd of players, clipboard in hand, surrounded by a bunch of gold and black, and began listing the next set of drills with all eyes clearly focused on him.

© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Basketball: Youth camp brings out a big Vining smile
If you happened to wander over to the East Hall gym this past week, you might have thought you were stuck in some sort of time loop...
8:30AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Jimmie Johnson hopes to end drought at Chicagoland
There are only four race tracks on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule where seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has yet...
6:00AM ( 2 hours ago )
Fans elect historically young NL lineup for All-Star Game
Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich have been elected starters for one of the youngest All-Star Game lineups ever, leading the millennial-heavy National League for this year's Midsummer Classic in Cleveland
10:54PM ( 9 hours ago )
Sports
PODCAST: Tebow's comments about UGA football, Disney movies and the Braves
Tim Tebow told 247Sports Jordan James that this year needs to be Georgia's year. He also said if Georgia doesn't win a national title, it's going to be disappointing to Bulldog fans.
2:05PM ( 2 days ago )
MIC'D UP: Gainesville's Heath Webb continues his 1,000-day project
If you stop by Gainesville High School and walk into the Red Elephants weight room or field house, you'll see the word GRIT.
7:15AM ( 3 days ago )
Golf: North Hall's Dubnik named the Class 3A All-State team
North Hall's Mikayla Dubnik continues to rack up the hardware. The sophomore golfer was named to the Class 3A All-State team by the Georgia High School Golf Coaches Association.
7:00AM ( 3 days ago )
High School Sports
Basketball: Chestatee taps UNG assistant Travis for next boys coach
Chestatee went to the college ranks to find its newest boys basketball coach...
By AccessWDUN Staff
7:48PM ( 1 month ago )
Basketball: Pickell resigns as boys coach at Johnson
After one season at the helm of the Johnson boys basketball team, Brandon Pickell has stepped down as head coach.
By AccessWDUN Staff
4:21PM ( 1 month ago )
Basketball: Dawson County hires North Forsyth's Herrick as new boys coach
North Forsyth girls basketball coach Eric Herrick was approved as Dawson County's next boys coach Tuesday night at the board of education meeting.
8:30AM ( 1 month ago )
Basketball: Strickland steps down at Chestatee; takes post at Monroe Area
After three seasons as head coach of the War Eagles, Kevin Strickland accepted the same position at Monroe Area on Tuesday.
2:01PM ( 1 month ago )
Basketball: Anderson comes home to take over Habersham Central program
Cody Anderson has a passion for basketball and a love for Habersham Central High School.
6:52AM ( 2 months ago )