A basketball officials' camp was held at Winslow High School on Friday in conjunction with a tournament for summer basketball programs on Friday and Saturday. Officials who participated in the camp also officiated games during the tournament which featured both boys' and girls' teams.
Paul Ray Powell was the presenter at the camp. Powell is one of the better known basketball officials in Arizona, having worked a considerable number of state tournament games in his 18 years of officiating. He was a multi-sport athlete at Eloy Santa Cruz High School before playing baseball and football at Arizona State University. He also officiates football and baseball.
Powell played on the ASU Sun Devil team that lost its first NCAA College World Series game only to become the first team ever to come back through the losers' bracket and win the national championship. He went to Arizona State on a football scholarship under the legendary coach Frank Kush.
Powell was one of many Arizona State athletes who played both football and baseball. Others include Danny White, who went to ASU on a baseball scholarship but became a star quarterback at both the college and professional levels. Reggie Jackson, a Hall of Fame quality baseball player during his major league career, came to Arizona State on a football scholarship.
After his collegiate career, Powell played professional baseball and had three years in the major leagues with the Minnesota Twins and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played both catcher and in the outfield.
Also attending the clinic was Area Commissioner Gerald Hancock of Holbrook. Hancock has been a basketball, football, baseball and softball official for many years and has served as the area commissioner for at least a decade.
Hancock noted that officials' camps such as this one are very important for officials and that those wishing to officiate state and regional tournaments need to attend in order to qualify. He and Powell stressed that the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) which assigns and regulates officials, is planning to go to a three official system for the finals and semi-finals of 4A and 5A state tournaments. That is the wave of the future and under present conditions, the only way officials will become familiar with that system is to attend camps.
Powell demonstrated both two and three official positioning and mechanics. He also addressed pre-game conferences and game management techniques. There was an informative handout to illustrate how court coverage should be done and how good officials should prepare for any likely game situation.
A $50 registration fee was collected, but Powell donated the money back to the local program. He said that this was his way of giving back to the athletic programs that have been so good to him throughout his career.
Hancock pointed out that the northern part of the state has a great need for officials and that the need will continue to grow. He said that he would encourage anyone wishing to get into officiating to contact him or the AIA and to attend camps and clinics such as this one.
The camp was organized by Winslow official B.J. Little and attended by officials from Holbrook, Chinle and Window Rock as well as Winslow and other locales.
Participants were encouraged to ask questions and to share "war stories" of their own officiating experiences. Every official has likely run into situations that they learned from, either by handling it well or making a mistake they will never forget. Powell said that if it happened once, the chances are it will happen again. It may not be the same people involved, but something similar is more than just possible. It is likely.
Hancock said that a similar camp would be held for football officials in late August. That camp will likely be in conjunction with the pre-season scrimmages in the Blue Ridge Show Low area.