If you play basketball and live in Klamath Falls, you probably have a yellow or blue ball from an Oregon Tech basketball camp in your collection. Whether it was the skills camp or the game camp, it was a week you didn’t miss growing up as a young basketball player. For me, it wasn’t the drills or the games that were special. It was meeting the college players and college coaches and all the other players that loved the game that made it special. A week dedicated to playing basketball was just a bonus.
For some, it was the reason they continued to play the game. For me, it was motivation to someday play at a higher level and make it “all the way” to the pros. It was a way to observe greatness to figure out if I had what it takes to make it. Was I good enough to play at Oregon Tech? What would I need to do to get there?
As I developed and matured as a basketball player, my line of comparison was always Oregon Tech players. There were even times where they were playing in the same pick-up game as me or we were playing on the same team. That was my time to shine. I either had to contribute to their success or they wouldn’t remember me. If I was guarding one of them, I would do everything it took to shut them down, just to see how I stacked up.
I know what most of you are thinking. Why wouldn’t you shoot for a higher level? Model your game against a pro player like Scottie Pippen (for all you defenders). The answer to that question is the same answer as to why Oregon Tech has become such an influence in the culture of Klamath Falls sports programs.
Oregon Tech basketball players and coaches are NEAR & APPROACHABLE! Near and approachable resources have the highest chance to impact and influence an athlete’s journey.
WHAT IS NEAR & APPROACHABLE?
On a larger and less common level, it’s a young player seeing Steph Curry and getting to take a picture with him. On a community level, it’s a sports program that provides resources and opportunities for developing players on a consistent basis. It’s the ability to interact with its players and coaches and to get a glimpse of what it’s like in the life of a college athlete. Breaking it down to its most granular level, it’s inspiration!
So what’s more important? To be near or to be approachable. The comparison of the two isn’t nearly as important as the need for both to be present. One doesn’t work without the other. The real question is…
WHAT MAKES OREGON TECH BASKETBALL APPROACHABLE?
Near is easy because it’s distance based and binary. Either you’re near or you’re not.
Approachable is much more difficult to achieve. There are many ways to become approachable. Let’s talk about what makes Oregon Tech basketball so approachable.
HIGH CHARACTER PLAYERS
The basketball program at Oregon Tech has always shared a common goal of recruiting and awarding player positions to high character players. This isn’t just the basketball program, but all sports programs there. These players are expected to serve as a team unit and not as individuals as well as represent their community as an “Oregon Tech Guy”, as Hall of Fame Coach Danny Miles would say.
These types of players were the same ones at the camps I attended. In retrospect, they were approachable because they had a good attitude, they wanted to be there, and they made themselves “human” by interacting and laughing and having a good time with the campers.
HIGH LEVELS OF SUCCESS
Whether you want to admit it or not, successful players and teams have a higher level of attraction than their counterparts. Winning equals more attention (good and bad), more opportunities to share about your program, and more demand from the players as individuals in the community.
Oregon tech has delivered on this requirement. With 3 National Championships since 2004 and multiple National tournament trips, Oregon Tech basketball is one of the premier basketball programs in its national division.
That excitement spreads to the local programs and inspires these teams to perform at a high level and win championships. The individual players also have more influence in their interactions in the community. If you need a reminder of the championships in Klamath Falls sports, check them all out in our article “Top Championships in Klamath Falls Sports”
CONSISTENT BASKETBALL RESOURCES
It’s important for local basketball players to have resources in their hometown, so they can craft their skill properly on a consistent basis. That’s where mastery exists. The basketball camps at Oregon tech that have been running for decades is an amazing resource they have provided to the community of young basketball players in Klamath Falls. Not only that, but also these young players can watch high level basketball right in their backyard (for free with their camp shirts). This is critically important as we discuss further below.
OBSERVING BASKETBALL GREATNESS
In the book, The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle, he lists observing greatness as one of they key factors that propelled a number of top performing programs in the world.
On a consistent basis, young developing players would simply observe the varsity programs or even professional programs in certain situations on how they performed drills and at what intensity. How they competed against their peers and how they communicated. This is a perfect example of being near & approachable.
The ability for young players to watch Oregon Tech basketball games is important for their development. They need to see how the players interact with their coaches. They need to see the focus as a team as they take the court. These are just a few examples of dozens of reasons why observing greatness works in shaping winning programs.
So let’s step out again and look at the bigger picture.
The #1 reason how OIT basketball has reached and influenced sports programs in Klamath Falls is because it’s near and approachable. All the factors listed above that support that notion are multipliers that have excelled local sports players and programs in the basin to an entirely new level, a championship level.
You see, not all near and approachable influences “win it all” or “go all the way”. But when they do, it creates a breeding ground for champions and championship programs. This is the state of sports in Klamath Falls, even currently as the Oregon Tech basketball program is competing in yet another National Championship in Sioux City.
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