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Lunsford and Lebron meet again as coach hits the national camp circuit

July 23, 2010 http://unionrecorder.com/localsports/x1527083793/Lunsford-and-Lebron-meet-again-as-coach-hits-the-national-camp-circuit Lunsford and Lebron meet again as coach hits the national camp circuit With hopes of strengthening GMC Prep’s ‘brand,’ first-year coach hopes to use big names, personal experiences to attract more talent to the institution Brent Martin CNHI (Union Recorder) MILLEDGEVILLE — GMC Prep first-year head coach James Lunsford knows a few things about Lebron James, the NBA’s do-everything superstar who is now firmly ensconced with the Miami Heat. Lunsford has known James since he was a ninth grader in Akron, Ohio. Years later, an older and more polished James has jumped leaps and bounds to the NBA, and a lot can also be said about Lunsford, who led Baldwin High and Twiggs County basketball programs to prominence, and is hoping to do the same at GMC Prep. Lunsford recently returned home from James’ Nike Skills Camp in Akron and was excited to get a chance to spend time with a star pupil he has known for many years now. “He is a great talent. I started working with Lebron when he was in the ninth grade. I’ve seen him grow up,” said Lunsford. “I met him for the first time, personally, at Michael Jordan’s basketball camp back then. He’s a great guy to work with.” Lunsford also stated that he’s been working the Nike All-American camps and Lebron camps for 18 years now and learns a lot by being exposed to some of the top talent in the world each summer. “The Lebron camp has 80 of the best players in the world (as well as Lebron), including players from France, China and other countries,” he said. “They are the best players in the world.” Lunsford remarked that the state of Georgia, especially Middle Georgia, has plenty of fertile basketball talent, and that several Georgians represented well in Akron. “The championship team had several guys from Georgia on it, including guys from Milton,” he said. Lunsford, who serves on the Nike graduates senior board, hopes to continue to soak in such basketball culture so it can carry over to the GMC Prep program. He also noted that sporting climates change from county to county, but they must always be prepared to adapt to that. “The talent level shifts in counties and it shifts in people,” said Lunsford. The basketball players are here, we just need to develop an atmosphere. That’s what we need to do at GMC Prep,” he said. “We can also try to get Lebron down here to speak, or some of the other big name players.” Lunsford also commented on Baldwin High’s new boys basketball coach, Ulysses Foston, a man who knows a thing or two about winning himself. “Coach Foston over at Baldwin is outstanding,” said Lunsford. “It’s great that they got somebody with such strong ties to the school.” So, what’s next for Lunsford? He’ll be spending the first two weeks of August in Santa Barbara, Calif., at Michael Jordan’s camp and will also continue to work on building his teams’ strength and conditioning at GMC this summer. And the coach, who has seen great things on the local and national level over the years yearns to get as many Bulldogs as possible in future national camps so they can continue to build the program to a more competitive level. “Our goal is to begin to send some of the GMC guys to the Michael Jordan, Lebron James and other exposure camps. Exposure is very important,” said Lunsford. “One thing we have to do is expose our young people, and that’s what makes newspapers so important to us. We have to get our young people in camps and get them ready.” Lunsford’s primary goal is to create collegiate opportunities for players at GMC Prep, something he was able to do with efficiency at Twiggs County and Baldwin High. “We were able to get over 400 kids in college at Baldwin and some at Twiggs, and we are going to do the same at GMC,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll have to work them as hard academically because GMC has a really good academic support system — and that’s what we need when selling the school to kids in the area.”