A pair of young Adair County hoopers impressed last weekend at the 2022 Midwest Spotlight presented by Camp One in Wilder, Kentucky.
Freshman-to-be Dawson Gilbert and rising seventh-grader John Sheehan were each named to the camp’s all-star team following the two-day event, which drew competition from across the country.
Adair head coach Deron Breeze says that both players have put in a tremendous amount of work this summer, which bodes well both for them as individuals and the Indians’ program overall.
“Both of those kids can score the ball well on their respective levels, but similarly, neither is blessed with natural world class speed or jumping ability,” Breeze explains. “It’s a testament to how hard each works and shows that, at the end of the day, skill wins out every time. Going to these camps, competing against some of the best players nationally, to still put up offensive numbers shows that their skill set is coming through. Hopefully, as a coach, it shows them that having success offensively with other good players, that what we have been preaching about playing without the ball in your hands, cutting hard getting the ball ready to score, you can still have success.”
While Sheehan, the younger of the pair, is still a few years away from impacting Breeze’s varsity squad, the coach says that Gilbert will compete for a starting spot this upcoming season.
“Dawson is in the gym or in the weight room almost every time it’s open,” Breeze says. “He has positioned himself with hard work and a consistent workout regimen to either start or see significant varsity minutes as a freshman.”
Breeze went on to call Gilbert “probably the best pure, natural scorer in our program right now,” and the numbers back it up. He averaged 26.7 points over the course of the camp’s three games.
Gilbert has spent all summer developing his game, attending camps, playing a full summer schedule with the high school team, and playing AAU. He says he notices improvement on both ends of the court.
“I had kind of gotten stuck at the three-point line, where all I did was shoot,” Gilbert says. “I can shoot pretty well, but it’s always good to be able to drive, too, so I worked on that a lot. Then my defense — I used to not be the greatest defender, but playing against older and better players has definitely made me improve.”
Gilbert’s list of goals for the upcoming season includes earning a starting spot and averaging double-digit points, “maybe even more than that, if I can,” he adds.
Sheehan, like Gilbert, says his consistent effort over the summer has led to drastic improvements. He scored 11, 21, and 22 during his three games at the camp.
“I just tried to hustle and run the floor well,” Sheehan says. “When you catch the ball, you just had to try to score with limited dribbles, because there were a lot of help defenders flying around. The competition was pretty high level because it was a national camp.”
Sheehan says the biggest improvement in his game has been his shooting, thanks to a regiment that includes 300 to 400 jumpers every day. His goals for the season are to lead his middle school team in rebounding and earn a call-up to the high school squad.
Breeze says he is proud of both players for the extra time and effort they have put into making themselves better players.
“It pays off,” he says. “It goes to show that when you put the work in, good things happen.”