Mogadore's Hunter Van Camp leads basketball resurgence

By Colin Harris | Staff Writer Published:

It sounds far-fetched, but there is at least one athlete in Mogadore that is more comfortable on the hardwood than he is on the gridiron.

Make no mistake: Senior forward Hunter Van Camp is a legitimate football player. A defensive back and wide receiver by trade, Van Camp is fresh off of helping Mogadore to a Division VI Associated Press state poll championship and a state semifinal bid in 2012.

However, where Van Camp truly shines is in the gym with the roundball, as the 6-foot-3 forward has helped turnaround the fortunes of Mogadore basketball.

"Basketball has always been my sport and for all my friends, it's always been football," Van Camp said. "I know I'm one of the few in my grade. I mean, we have a good grade for all-around athletes, but ask pretty much anyone, and they'll tell you they love football first."

Mogadore has had a lot of success with Van Camp on the court, putting together a 32-16 record in his first two seasons, including a Division IV district championship in 2012.

This season, the Wildcats are 14-3 overall and recently captured the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye as they look to defend their district crown at the Struthers District.

When you grow up in Mogadore, losing can be something of a foreign concept. Van Camp is no exception to that.

A confident athlete by nature, Van Camp said that his biggest concern was that his No. 1 sport would not be able to live up to the expectations set by the football team every fall.

"When I was growing up, my class won in everything, but our varsity basketball team (struggled)," Van Camp said of Mogadore basketball in the mid-2000s, including an 0-20 season in 2006-07. "I was scared, to be honest, because I've never been used to losing.

"Football wins every year here, but for me, I wanted to turnaround the basketball program and get that going, too."

Van Camp has certainly done his part to change that perception, leading his team in scoring this season with a team-high 15.8 points per game. He is also among team leaders in rebounds (4.5) and assists (2).

The senior captain said his rebounding totals have dropped slightly from last year as his role has changed. One of the best athletes on the court, Van Camp said Mogadore's coaches have been using his athleticism in the transition game instead of keeping him home in the paint.

"I feel like I'm a lot more (of a scorer) this year, even though I'm only one or two points higher than my junior year," Van Camp said. "I feel better about myself offensively. I've been out running more in transition this year and getting down the floor better."

Van Camp said that there is always room for improvement, and he knows there's at least one step left to take if this group wants to equal -- or better -- last year's success.

"I know that I can improve defensively and as we're coming down to the end of the season, I know I have to kick it in gear," Van Camp said. "I think with the tournaments, I'm going to have to really step it up and bring my rebounding and my scoring up another notch (to be successful)."

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Email: charris@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9447

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