BUTTE — Adam Hiatt estimates that high school basketball players from 10 different states were in attendance at the HPER Complex on Wednesday.
The Montana Tech head men's basketball coach, and several of his players, were leading some 80 players through the second of a three-day high-intensity basketball camp with an emphasis on "individual skill development."
"It's pretty impressive we're able to draw from far and wide," said Hiatt of the turnout.
With team camps and tournaments increasingly taking center stage on the summer high school basketball scene, the focus of Hiatt's camp is more of an outlier. But it's a system he's been developing for over a decade.
He first conceived of the "High School High Potential Camp" when he was the head men's basketball head coach at former Frontier Conference member Westminster College in Salt Lake City (the Griffins are now a member of the NCAA Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) and it quickly developed a loyal following.
"It's a unique model," Hiatt said. "It was a popular camp down in Salt Lake as well. So we brought it up here in the summer of 2016 and it's just grown every year to the point where now it's in extremely high demand. Our camps fills up pretty fast and I think it's because they understand we put in great effort and these camps mean a lot to us and our program."
"The growth that we see is immense," he said.
The camp is not only beneficial for the high schoolers that attend, but also for the Orediggers that get an opportunity to coach and help mentor the next generation of players.
"It's great for them to be back on campus," Hiatt said. "Them coming back and being able to see how they've grown and developed. And our players get to see the game from a different perspective. When you're a player, you see the game from a very myopic point of view. And now they get to see things form a bird's eye point of view.
"It's just really healthy for them to grow as players, to be able to coach others and communicate, and understand the importance of communication."
Tech's basketball camps have become a focal point of many high school players summer itineraries, and that's become a source of pride for the program.
"Our goal was to make this the most popular camp in the region and we feel like we've accomplished that," Hiatt said.
The one thing preventing Tech's camps from growing even more? Real estate.
"We just hope we can get more gym space," he said. "If we can get an auxiliary gym, maybe we can grow our camps even more."