Elite Camps For Rising Hoops Stars

Dave Severns, director of player development, L.A. Clippers, and Clippers guard Chris Paul talk with a young basketball camper. Photo courtesy Byron Mello

Dave Severns, director of player development, L.A. Clippers, and Clippers guard Chris Paul talk with a young basketball camper. Photo courtesy Byron Mello

How good of a basketball player can your rising hoops star become? Byron Mello thinks he or she can be among the elite. That’s why the Moanalua High School coach is once again inviting your family to take part in his Hawaii Elite Basketball camps.

This summer’s Elite Boys Camp, for boys ages 13-18, will be held July 3-6 at Mid-Pacific. And for the first time there also will be an Elite Girls Camp for girls ages 11-18, to be held June 5-8 at Mid-Pacific. The cost of the boys camp is $225; girls camp costs $195.

“Instead of sending your son or daughter to a Mainland camp, we’re offering the same value for a fraction of the price,” says Mello, who owns and operates the camps.

This year’s lead coach at the Elite Boys Camp will be Dave Severns, director of player development for the Los Angeles Clippers.

“Chris Paul just credited Coach Severns for his latest great scoring effort,” Mello says. “We try to pattern our camp after the Snow Valley Camp, one of the best in the nation. Having Coach Severns here makes a big difference for our campers.”

The staff also is helped out by an outstanding cast of local coaches, many of whom worked with Mello over the last three decades. Mello is a former Punahou assistant coach and a former head coach at Damien and Maryknoll before taking over at Moanalua this year and guiding the Menehune into the state tournament.

“I enjoy being in the OIA, and we have a great bunch of kids,” he says. “This was an exciting year.”

Mello brings some of his old friends to help him coach at the Elite Camps; guys like Darryl Gabriel and Alan

Lum, with whom he’s played since the late ’70s. Gabriel and Lum were on Punahou’s state championship team in 1979. (Mello was on the 1980 championship team.)

“The 1979 team may be the only Hawaii high school team that featured three guys who went on to play Division I basketball: Gabriel at Loyola Marymount, Dan Hale at Hawaii, and Darin Maurer at Stanford,” he says.

That team also had a future USC and NFL football star in John Kamana, who was so good he kept another pretty well-known hoopster out of the starting lineup.

That pretty-well-known hoopster was future President Barack Obama.

“Barry had the misfortune of playing behind Kamana,” Mello recalls. “But we all played together – I still remember the intense pickup games on the outdoor courts at Punahou.”

Mello promises to bring the same kind of competitive spirit to his Elite Camps this summer.

“We’ve got what we call cutthroat competitions, where four-person teams try to see how long they can stay on the court by following basic fundamental teachings,” he explains. “We’ve also got skill development each morning, and then players are drafted onto outstanding 5-on-5 games for the afternoon competition. Everyone works hard.”

Mello also says he gets something new out of each of these camps himself.

“I’ve been in coaching nearly 30 years, and sometimes I feel like I’m just skimming the surface,” he says. “I always find a better way of doing something, of reaching out to the players, or seeing or hearing about a new drill. It’s a great experience.”

For more information on Hawaii Elite Camps, register online at pbclinics.com, or call Mello at 306-1059 or email him at pbclinics@gmail.com.