Two of Rhode Island’s most successful women’s basketball players will give girls all over the state a special opportunity when school spring break rolls around later this month.
Former Johnston High and Providence College star Chelsea Marandola is teaming with former Classical and Stanford star Christina Batastini-Sheehan to hold a girls’ basketball camp in Johnston. The four-day camp will be held April 16-19 at Rainone Gym, with a 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. schedule each day. Girls grades three through eight are eligible to participate.
Batastini, who runs the Batastini School of Basketball and also coaches at the Lincoln School, is excited for the camp to get underway.
“I’m excited and I know Chelsea is really excited about having it in her home town,” Batastini said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Batastini and Marandola coached together at the Lincoln School this past season, and their credentials speak for themselves. Marandola finished her career at Johnston with 2,631 points, the most-ever for a Rhode Island girls’ basketball player. She was a four-time All-State selection and a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year. She went on to PC, where she earned first-team All-Big East honors in 2010, her senior year. She also played professionally in Austria.
Batastini starred at Classical and played at Stanford from 1996-2000, helping lead the Cardinal to the Final Four in 1997. After graduation, she played four years of professional basketball in Italy, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden.
When it comes to camps, Batastini believes those accomplishments are a major selling point.
“I think the biggest thing for girls’ basketball players is getting the chance to be exposed to local players who went on to bigger things,” Batastini said. “It’s important to know it’s possible.”
But Batastini and Marandola won’t just be role models at the camp. They’ll lead the workouts and provide hands-on instruction. The camp focuses on the development of all-around skills with unique teaching stations for offense, defense and rebounding. Players will work on shooting fundamentals, position work specific to guards, forwards and posts, and will play 1-on-1, 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 games.
“We really try to teach the game,” Batastini said. “The fundamentals aren’t always exciting, but that’s what we focus on. Kids are able to build on what they learn, and by Thursday, they’ll have a better understanding of the game and what they need to do to be successful. Hopefully, that motivates them to keep playing and keep learning.”
The camp will also be staffed by current and former college coaches and players, as well as some of the top high school coaches in the area.
It all adds up to a great opportunity for aspiring players.
“We always over-staff our camps,” Batastini said. “That might not be the best business model, but that’s what we do. We have a very small camper-to-coach ratio, so every girl is going to get a lot of instruction. We take pride in the fact that you’re going to learn something, and chances are, you’re going to learn an awful lot.”
To register for the camp visit www.batschoolofbasketball.com.
The cost is $175, and each girl will receive a reversible jersey and a player evaluation. Campers are asked to bring a basketball marked with the camper’s name, a healthy lunch and water or Gatorade. The camp store will provide pizza, snacks, drinks and Batastini School of Basketball gear for purchase.