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Ceres High School Basketball Camp a popular draw during summertime
Siblings Inder and Arvind Sandhu, and Dalton and Cheralyn Durossette were among the 40 participants in the session for fourth through eighth graders at the 23rd Annual Ceres High School Basketball Camp on June 6 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Vanessa Morris, second-year head coach of the Bulldogs' varsity girls basketball program, provided 10 hours of instruction in a five-day span with assistance from Ceres High players.

"I went through this camp as a player," said Morris, a 1996 Ceres High grad. "Not much has changed. We're teaching the fundamentals. You don't get better during the season. You improve in the summer."

Inder and Arvind were first-year campers. Older brother Joshneil, the second-leading scorer on the Bulldogs' 2011-12 freshman boys hoops team, convinced them to sign up.

"You get time to practice," said Inder, 12. "You get to meet new people. I've enjoyed the drills. I've learned how to get the correct footwork down."

"I learned you have to dribble with your eyes open, and if you don't, you'll lose the ball," said Arvind, 8.

"The kids are having a good time," Vanessa said. "They love to play. They don't want to leave the gym."

A product of hard work, Morris had a memorable four-year varsity career with Ceres High's varsity girls basketball team. She averaged 28.9 points per game while leading the Bulldogs to a 31-1 overall record, an undefeated Central California Conference campaign (16-0) and a Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II semifinal playoff appearance as a senior. Vanessa played for Shawna Nunes, her coaching predecessor, for three seasons.

Morris was an assistant on Nunes' staff for two seasons (2008-10).

Vanessa's attended all but two of Ceres High's basketball camps. She was a participant in grades 6-12. Morris has helped run the hoops clinic the past 15 years.

"Basketball's been very good to me," said Vanessa, who earned a scholarship to Oregon State and finisher her career at Cal State Stanislaus. "I got to travel and meet new people. I got my education paid for. I'll always be thankful for Phil, Ceres Unified and everybody that helped me along the way. I was very fortunate. Now, it's my opportunity to give back. That's the least I can do."

The second week of the Ceres High basketball camp was staged, June 11-15.

"It's not about money for us," Morris said. "We just want them to learn some skills. Fundamentals are key. Before you have a really tall building, you need to have a good base. I worked hard every day to get where I was at."

Cost was $70 for two weeks of instruction and $50 for one with multiple-sibling rates.