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Morris gives back
Vanessa Morris generated a lot of great memories while starring on Ceres High School's varsity girls basketball team from 1992-1996.

She earned a scholarship to Oregon State and finished her hoops career at Cal State Stanislaus.

Last week, Morris helped out at the 21st Annual Bulldog Basketball Camp.

"I feel it's my responsibility to give back to the community because so much was given to me," said Vanessa, 32.

More than 70 players participated in Ceres High's clinic last week, including 44 in the 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. session for fourth through eighth graders, 16 in the 8-10 a.m. session for girls in high school and 11 in the 12-2 p.m. session for boys in high school.

Seven-year-old Allison Stiles (Whitmore Charter School), Dominic Magdaleno (Medeiros Elementary in Turlock, 7), Joshua Pernetti (home-schooled in Ceres, 8), Orlando Leon (Virginia Parks Elementary, 8) and Logan Kier (Carroll Fowler Elementary, 11) were among the 40-plus campers that worked on fundamentals during the 10-12 session.

"This is my third year," Pernetti said. "It helps me learn more about basketball. I like shooting free throws. They're fun."

"It's important to make everything fun," Morris said. "I keep everything basic so they can build on it. One of the biggest things is gaining confidence."

Vanessa developed into one of Ceres High's all-time greatest players, female or male, because of her love for the sport, work ethic and drive to succeed. Bulldog coaches Shawna Nunes and Phil de la Porte played a role as well.

Morris has attended all but one of Ceres High's basketball clinics. She'll continue to be a fixture at the camp, which was founded by de la Porte in 1990.

"I'm very thankful they allow me to come back," said Vanessa, a former standout guard.

Morris ranked fifth in the state in scoring with a 28.9 points per game average during her senior year with the Bulldogs. She led Ceres High to a perfect 16-0 mark in the Valley Oak League, 31-1 overall record and trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinal playoff game.