MAGNOLIA — Cheston Boyd knew the St. Thomas More boys’ basketball team needed some more depth.
So the coach turned to the team’s manager to see if he would be interested in suiting up for the Ravens. The move looks desperate on the surface, until you consider who Boyd asked to play.
Kexxer Camarco isn’t just an average team manager.
Camarco will be a future Division I athlete — he has committed to play soccer at the University of Delaware. Before that, though, he has joined the second-seeded Ravens for the DIAA state tournament, where they will meet 19th seed Caravel at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.
Camarco hasn’t played organized basketball since the eighth grade. But he’s played a part in the last two playoff games for St. Thomas More.
“I knew he could at least be a defender for us,” Boyd said. “He can play solid defense for us and grab rebounds, so I told him to come on in. The kid has been working every single morning at 5:30 in the morning just trying to get used to the game. He’s been an amazing addition for us.”
St. Thomas More is missing big men Aaron Scott and Elias Revelle, who are both ineligible for various reasons. Their absence had decreased the Ravens’ rotation to typically six players late in the season.
That’s when Boyd approached Camarco about giving basketball a shot. First he had to get approval from the University of Delaware to make sure it wouldn’t affect his soccer scholarship, then he had to focus on learning a game where his only experience over the last four years was shooting around with his friends in backyards.
“It’s been a great experience so far and I’m trying to help the team the best way I can,” Camarco said. “I had to step up for my team. I’ve got more minutes and I’m trying to get a better feel for the game to help my team out.”
Camarco’s first points of his high school career came on quite the stage.
He scored a key basket in the second half of St. Thomas More’s quarterfinal victory over Appoquinimink, which broke a 33-33 tie.
“I felt this rush inside of me,” Camarco said. “It was just like scoring a goal in soccer.”
“Awesome, right? How awesome is that?” Boyd said.
Camarco said the reason he felt compelled to join the roster was his attachment to the small Magnolia private school. The Rehoboth Beach resident attended St. Thomas More as a freshman in 2013 when he started for the soccer team.
Camarco moved to Real Salt Lake’s Academy School for the next two years to further his soccer career. But he came back to St. Thomas More for his senior season and played soccer with Continental Football Club in Conshohocken, Pa. in the fall.
He signed up to be the basketball team’s manager and fit right in with the rest of the players.
“I love the school so much and I love these guys so much,” Camarco said. “If it wasn’t for these guys, I’d be kind of lost. They’re like a family to me.”
Camarco, whose teammates call him “Kex,” played 12 minutes in the quarterfinals — the most he has played in a single game so far this season. Aside from his first ever basket, he grabbed three rebounds and added an assist.
He’s not asked to score too much, considering the Ravens have guys like Greg Bloodsworth, Eric Montanez and Cory Gordon who carry the bulk of the offense. Those three players combined for 42 of St. Thomas More’s 48 points against Appoquinimink.
“Kex is an athlete and the big thing for me is he can play defense,” Boyd said. “We’ve got guys that can put the ball in the hole, but I knew if he could play defense and rebound he could help us out.”
Camarco plays centerback in soccer. He says lot of his skills and instincts from being a defender in soccer can carry over to the basketball court.
“What comes with that is a lot of vision and checking your head,” Camarco said. “I can be a natural defender and move my feet quick enough. I need to work with my hands a little more. Obviously it’s basketball, but it translates a little easier than someone who plays another sport, I think.”
Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at firstname.lastname@example.org