They just want to play basketball’

Camp coach marvels at campers’ enthusiasm


In previous years, the Rising Stars Boys’ Basketball campers would drag their feet to the gymnasium after breakfast, but not the Class of 2018.

Special to the Times | Ray Landry
Rising Stars camper Jude Thomas, a seventh-grader at Tse’bit’ai Middle School, drives past defenders during a scrimmage game at Navajo Prep on June 15.

This year’s group of 24 campers made their mark as the most enthusiastic campers yet.

Rising Stars Boy’s Basketball Camp Lead Coach Ryneldi Becenti said the group set themselves apart from the three previous groups.

“At 7:15 every morning they were all in the gym scrimmaging,” she said, “then right after dinner they’re right back in the gym; it’s like I rarely saw any of them go back to the dorm.”

The camp was held June 12-16 at Navajo Preparatory School and saw its biggest group of campers for the boy’s basketball camp. The boy’s camp is one of a number of camps that were established as extensions of the original Rising Star Girls’ Basketball Camp, which started over 20 years ago.

The boys’ camp took a few years to get of the ground but is now in its fourth year. Becenti has been the lead coach all four years; this year however, she was accompanied by former Kirtland Central High School and Denver University standout Christian Mackey and Shiprock Northwest boys’ basketball coach Devon Lapahie.

Becenti said the campers got to learn from some of the best the local scene has to offer.

“What better coaching staff would you want? We have experience, but we don’t only have experience, we’re well educated and they get the best out of us,” she said. “We love to see them laugh, we love to see them smile.”

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Categories: Basketball

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at or via cell at (505) 686-0769.