Since the Indiana High School Athletic Association passed its rule allowing coaches in all sports to coach their teams during the summer months, few people have taken advantage quite like Jeffersonville girls’ basketball coach Chad Gilbert.

Since the rule’s inception back in 2002, Gilbert has been widely regarded as the coach who has utilized it to its fullest effect.

Summer-long sessions in the gym — be it at individual practices, league games or team camps — have become commonplace for players who have gone through Gilbert’s program.

“Is it grueling? It can be,” said Gilbert. “But I’d rather be tired in the summer than to not be able to sleep in January or February when we don’t play to our fullest potential.”

Summer 2006 has been just like every other for the Red Devils. Since June, Jeff has participated in camps and leagues from Louisville all the way to Indianapolis.

Jeff has participated in an estimated 50 games since the start of summer. The Devils played in camps at the University of Louisville, the Floyd Central Shootout, a Nolan Fieldhouse summer league, the Adidas Summerslam in Indianapolis, the “One-Class” Tournament at “The Fieldhouse” in Indy and Jim Underwood’s Blue Chip Shootout in Vincennes.

That was all on the heels of early morning practices that began at the start of summer. During one four-day stretch in June, Jeff players practiced from 7-9 a.m., then worked as counselors at the Jeff High youth camp from 9 a.m.-noon. Once that wrapped up, players lifted weights from 2-3 p.m. before concluding their day at the U of L team camp from 7-9 p.m.

“Our motto is that no team in the state is going to outwork us,” said Gilbert. “Teams may be able to outplay us, but none will outwork us.”

Have players bought in? Apparently so. Gilbert says workouts have averaged 26 players per session.

“They all seem to say they want to be here,” said Gilbert. “Our workouts are voluntary but our kids all understand that it’s mandatory to volunteer to be the best.

“The upperclassmen have done an outstanding job of setting a tone and that’s just something that has continued over the course of the years. The players that are seniors and juniors now all learned from the upperclassmen ahead of them. That’s how we’ve been able to continue on as a good program from their example.”

Another reason players may be so quick to buy in is the general success of the Jeff program since the rule was made and Gilbert’s Summer Tour became widespread.

Since 2002, Jeff has averaged 20 wins a season and also has won three Hoosier Hills Conference and Class 4A sectional titles.

“I don’t think there’s any question we’ve been able to utilize the rule to our advantage,” Gilbert said. “That’s a huge part of our success.”

Jeff breaks its summer schedule into two separate sessions. June is reserved for team camps and league games while July focuses on individual player development and exposure for college coaches — when NCAA rules allow collegiate coaches to observe players on the recruiting trail.

Jeff has had eight players go on to play collegiate hoops since 2002, including two who played at the Division I level in Lauren Stewart (U of L) and Jasmine Baines (IUPUI).

Out of this year’s Jeff crop, senior-to-be Sabrina Johnson has played in individual camps in South Carolina and Washington, D.C., while junior Ally Wright has played in Virginia and Ohio.

“June is for the team, July is for the player,” said Gilbert. “August is for anything but basketball. We do those two months with basketball, then we take August off. After Labor Day, we come back at it again.”

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