A York County basketball player attending a summer camp to improve his skills is nothing out of the ordinary.
However, when the camp is located in Italy, that's definitely unusual.
Red Lion junior Mike Fox has crossed the Atlantic Ocean four or five times to attend a camp in the country where his father, John, used to play.
"My dad has a friend over there who runs one of the camps," Mike Fox said. "It's an experience; you get to meet kids from all over the world. It gives you great exposure to other cultures, and it's really neat to see how basketball is played all over the world."
John Fox played in Italy for 10 years after starring at Millersville University, where he was named an NCAA Division II
Fox scored 1,804 points and pulled down 1,214 rebounds during his career at Millersville. He played one year in the Continental Basketball Association before leaving for Italy, where he played nine seasons in the Italian Basketball League.
"My dad taught me how to play basketball since I was a little kid," Mike Fox said. "I got to see films of him playing, and that's a pretty cool thing. That kind of inspires me."
His father supplied the inspiration, and Mike put in the work to become a very good player in his own right. He started on the Lions last year as a sophomore, and this year, he's averaging 15.8 points and eight rebounds a game.
"Mike is having a really nice year," Red Lion head coach Steve Schmehl said. "He's getting used to being the guy who the other teams focus on. He only had seven points last night (against Dover), but he had 15 rebounds."
Fox was the only proven varsity player on the team at the beginning of the season. The Lions, despite, their inexperience, are 5-5 in Division I and 10-6 overall. Three of the league losses were by one point, three points and four points.
"Early in the year, we had a lot of guys who didn't have much varsity experience and weren't used to how fast the game was at this level," Fox said. "We played pretty solid in those close games, but what it comes down to is we have to be able to close out games."
Fox and the other Lions' players, with one exception, will be able to return next year. Kevin Hutchinson is the team's lone senior. The 6-1 Hutchinson, despite not playing last season, is averaging 11.6 points a game.
"I tried out (last year), but I didn't feel like playing," Hutchinson said. "I still played, but not with the team."
Not being with the players last season made Hutchinson realize just how much his teammates meant to him.
"I love playing with these guys," he said. "I went to every game last year and watched them and every game I went to, I missed it (being part of the team). I had to come out this year. When it's over, I'm going to be sad."
Schmehl's happy that Hutchinson returned.
"He's playing really well for us," Schmehl said. "He finishes around the rim in traffic."
Hutchinson is aiming to continue his career after high school.
The other players will return for another season of high school ball and look to get in the York-Adams Division I title mix.
Mike Fox is planning to get stronger in the offseason and, hopefully, add a couple more inches to his height.
Considering that his father is 6-9, he may still have some room to grow.
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin firstname.lastname@example.org.