MVP, the premier Jewish Orthodox boys’ basketball camp at Camp Seneca Lake, under the direction of Irv Bader and Judah and Carol Rhine, celebrated its 11th consecutive season of record-breaking registration and enrollment. Five divisions, 28 teams, and over 125 games were played over the course of the five-day camp. The games were competitive and exciting with many last-minute buzzer-beater endings.
This year’s MVP featured players with all levels of playing ability. Players from grades 3 through 11 represented many schools throughout the tristate area, including Barkai, JEC, HAFTR, HALB, HANC, North Shore Hebrew Academy, YCQ, Yeshiva Har Torah, SAR, Ramaz, MTA, Tiferes Moshe, South Shore, Rambam, DRS, Shaare Torah, Kushner, Magen David Yeshivah, YDE, Solomon Schechter of Queens, Shaare Zion, Yeshivah of Flatbush, Hillel Yeshivah, and others. Many of the counselors/coaches were former MVP players and were able to give over their experiences to this year’s MVP players from their years at MVP.
Upon arrival, each MVP player received his very own reversible MVP jersey. Each day at MVP was filled with a jam-packed schedule starting with Shacharis in the air-conditioned shul, followed by gourmet breakfast, and then a series of activities including clinics, swim in the pool featuring the Seneca giant slide, and league games. Delectable lunches were followed by visits to Seneca Sprinkles Ice Cream Parlor, 3-on-3, 2-on-2, and 1-on-1 competitions and much, much more. After delicious dinners, all MVP players went to the shul for Minchah and Ma’ariv. Following the night games, and the nightly individual skills contests for each grade, the late-night barbecues at the brand new Seneca Canteen gave all the MVP players across all the divisions and schools the opportunity to interact and meet up with each other. All games and competitions were accommodated and completed in both our outdoor and indoor facilities. Swim also took place in our indoor pool.
Special events that took place included an all-star game for each of the following divisions: beginners, rookies, juniors, and intermediates.
This year MVP was privileged to have K’Mac McDonald on staff as head basketball pro. He played for Queens College and plays professionally in both China and Mexico. Special guests invited to MVP to give clinics to the campers included legendary coach of Yeshiva University Johnny Halpert; Coach Duke, head coach of Adelphi University; and Richard Jones, former college player and coach and current referee. All came to give over their expertise of fundamentals and strategy from their years of coaching, playing, and reffing.
The much anticipated MVP staff game featuring the MVP coaches/counselors against the MVP pro staff lived up to its hype. The many game highlights included impressive dunks and eye-opening “alley-oops” as the crowd “oohed and aahed” as they cheered on their favorites.
On the final day of MVP 2019, championship games for each division were played at the beautiful Seneca Center Complex and Seneca Park, featuring stadium seating and the “MVP courts.” One was decided by a desperation “3” at the buzzer of overtime. The games were followed by lunch and the MVP annual closing awards ceremonies, where over 100 trophies and MVP medals were distributed to champions from all the many competitions that took place during the course of the week, including the MVP awards to the MVPs of each of the leagues. Following the awards ceremony, every MVP camper was excited to receive his very own new-for-2019 MVP kippah and an MVP wristband. Everyone is already looking forward to MVP 2020.
In reviewing this year’s MVP experience, co-director Judah Rhine stated, “This was by far our best season ever. The camaraderie among the campers was wonderful. Everyone was able to step up their game so there is certainly something here for everyone. Every camper is truly an MVP.”
MVP has already started planning for MVP 2020, our 12th season, which promises to be bigger and better! Once again, this past season, registration was sold out, which resulted in a waiting list. Please make sure to register early so you don’t get closed out. For more information and pictures, please visit themvpcamps.com.
Judah Rhine, who has been coaching youth basketball for more than 35 years, is co-director of MVP Boys Basketball Camp and MVP Girls Basketball Camp and co‑commissioner of the National Council of Young Israel basketball league. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.