The first two seasons of Kevin McGeehan’s coaching tenure at Campbell haven’t exactly gone as planned.
But with new recruits that include Chris Clemons, a former standout at Millbrook, and four of the top six scorers returning, McGeehan expects his luck to change.
Last season’s team finished 10-22. This season they were picked to finished among the bottom third in the Big South Conference. But McGeehan said his team is underrated.
“We were picked to finish 10th in our conference and I don’t think that is an accurate representation of what we are and can be,” McGeehan said.
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That might be true. Campbell will return arguably its best player in D.J. Mason, a 6-foot-6 senior forward and preseason All-Big South second-team pick. Last season, he averaged 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, and shot 50.3 percent from the floor.
But McGeehan said Mason’s passing ability is underrated.
“I don’t think people would think of him in that way because he’s kind of rugged and a good physical athlete in his ability to take contact and rebound,” he said. “But he’s also a great passer.”
Kyre’ Hamer also is returning. The junior played hurt most of last season, but McGeehan said he’ll be key for the Camels.
“He would have helped us get through a few of those games,” McGeehan said. “He would have come in to the season sitting at 10 points a game instead of 8.5. He got overlooked because coaches are going only off the stat packages. I think he’s a little undervalued around the league.”
Last season’s team had trouble closing out victories. Missed free throws at the end of games proved costly and helped lead to the losing record.
McGeehan was honest about his assessment of his team’s free-throw shooting.
“If we would have been even average, we would have won more games,” McGeehan said. “I think we will be better all around. It’s a process and we’re in that process.”
McGeehan said one thing that has helped this team was its August trip to Europe. The team visited the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Ireland, and it played teams from the latter two countries. He said only one of his players had ever been out of the country and it was a good experience for them.
“When you get dropped in another country with teammates and your coaches, you have to rely on each other,” he said.
That’s what they plan to do this season.