Pima Community College sports

Pima’s Brian Peabody operating 41st summer basketball camp, longest of its kind locally

Brian Peabody Basketball Camp youth participants ages 6-15 (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Brian Peabody headed into his first season of coaching in the summer of 1983 at his alma mater Sahuaro High School serving as an assistant of the legendary Dick McConnell.

He took on the responsibility that year of helping McConnell organize the annual basketball Dick McConnell Basketball Camp at Sahuaro’s gymnasium.

The summer before that, McConnell and his son Rick served as instructors at Dean Smith’s summer basketball camp at Chapel Hill, N.C., and they learned some of the Hall of Famer’s drills.

Dick McConnell and Smith were teammates at a high school in Topeka, Kan., and they each led their respective team to championship in 1981-82 — McConnell at Sahuaro and Smith at North Carolina.

Peabody is carrying on the lineage of instruction from his mentor McConnell, administering his 41st basketball camp this year, now at Pima College, where he has coached for 11 seasons.

“I know it’s the longest-lasting in camp in Tucson,” Peabody said Tuesday at Pima’s West Gym after the morning youth session. “It may be the longest-lasting camp in Arizona.

“I do it for the community. Most of the kids that are here are here for free. I’ve been doing to give back to the youth. What do I get out of it? I think the biggest kick I get is I was coaching kids and now I’m coaching their kids and some of their kids. It just means that I’m getting old.”

Ad in the Tucson Citizen for the 1983 Dick McConnell Camp, when Brian Peabody began his experience of working with kids during the summer.

Peabody, assistant coach Mateo Garcia and a handful of Pima players served as instructors in various dribbling, passing and shooting drills for two hours. One of the Aztecs’ standouts working with the kids was the school’s first two-time All-American, Traivar Jackson.

Peabody’s son Carson, a member of Catalina Foothills’ 2020-21 state championship team, is also a valuable contributor who demonstrates to the kids what his dad is asking them to perform, including the difficult maneuver of dribbling between the legs behind the back.

“That’s really cool; not many people get to work with their son everyday,” Brian Peabody said. “He does all my tournaments, all my camps. He’s 21. He’s been coming here (to his camp) for 17 years in a row.”

Members of the Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate fourth and fifth grade co-ed team from 2022-23 (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

On a personal note, nine players I coached with the Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate fourth and fifth grade team last season are taking part in the camp this week.

I’m thankful the parents saw the value in bringing their kids and for the young basketball players for finding Brian Peabody’s lessons to be instrumental to their development.

Brian Peabody, his son, Garcia and his players are each instructing with a positive vibe that has the youngsters working hard to improve their fundamentals.

I didn’t observe one of the approximate 40 campers in the youth session to become frustrated.

Jaela Watts taking part in a dribbling drill (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The last session of the Brian Peabody Summer Basketball Camp is next Monday through Thursday at the West Gym.

Youths 6-15 train from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. players 13-22 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

In the youth camp, Brian Peabody breaks down and emphasizes the fundamentals and skill work of the game. This includes: ball handling, shooting drills, passing, game play and a stronger mental approach.

  • Parents are welcome to stay & watch, use weight room facility upstairs or use tables for work.
  • Snack bar with drinks and snacks will be available for sale during camp breaks.   

The fee for the week is $150.

To register for the camp, please click here.

Lucas Purdy avoids Pima assistant Mateo Garcia before taking a shot (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The program for those ages 13-22 is designed for competitive serious players who want to advance their game to the next level. Males and females ages are welcomed to register for these camps.     

Training includes:

  • Ball Handling 
  • Foot Work
  • Strength & Conditioning
  • Shooting
  • Skillwork

The fee for the week is $100. An individual session in addition to a week in the camp costs $150.

To register, please click here.


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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