Area coaches feeling excitement

YOUNGSTOWN — It’s been about five years since Keith Gunther brought his Ursuline boys basketball team to a Youngstown State University men’s basketball team camp.

With the excitement surrounding YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun and the furious recruiting binge the Penguins have been on this spring, it’s no wonder things have been infectious.

Ursuline is part of Sunday’s team shootout and is playing host to the JV games going on as well.

“It’s exciting when you can be a part of the new atmosphere that’s about to happen,” Gunther said. “We’re excited about what coach is bringing back to the Valley, as far as excitement about YSU basketball.

“We’re excited that we get to be a part of it.”

Kevin Bruinsma and Calhoun knew they wanted to make an impact in June.

The YSU team has been furiously recruiting, waiting for the five incoming freshman to come to campus. The junior college and returning players are back around June 22.

Camp season starts Sunday with a team shootout camp.

Bruinsma, the director of player of personnel, and Calhoun wanted to get 40 teams on campus. They have 46. It’s the most the Penguins have had on campus.

Division III state champion Villa Angela-St. Joseph and Division IV winner Lutheran East are coming, along with teams from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and even Toronto, Canada.

Area teams like Ursuline, Girard, Cardinal Mooney, McDonald, Niles, Youngstown East, John F. Kennedy, Campbell Memorial, West Branch, Bristol, Austintown Fitch, East Liverpool, Hickory (Pa.), Laurel (Pa.), East Palestine and Boardman (JV) are coming to YSU.

There are 10 courts available with two at the Beeghly Center, three inside Stambaugh Stadium, four at the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center. The other court is at Ursuline High School.

First games start at 9 a.m., with the last ones starting at 6 p.m.

The varsity teams will be in pools of five and are guaranteed four games.

“They will pair against teams that won’t face each other during the regular season or in tournaments,” Bruinsma said. “We want every game to be competitive so everyone gets something out of it. In order to do that, it took a lot of work and research on all the teams.”

An elite camp ends the influx of high school and youths on campus on June 24.

Meanwhile, Gunther has talked to Calhoun and some of the YSU staff. He’s been impressed with the intensity they’ve had recruiting, getting players like 6-5 forward Tyree Robinson, who was sought after by schools like Colorado State, New Mexico State and others.

This is a YSU program desperate for a winner, coming off its third straight 20-loss season.

“You can tell they’re hungry to get the program turned around immediately,” Gunther said. “Some guys will say, ‘Give me 3 to 5 years.’ I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m not putting any pressure on them. From the way they’re working and the talent pool they’re starting to pull in, I think they’re going to turn it around a lot quicker than they anticipate they’re going to do.”