Local college notebook: Wesley, Cameron looking for strong finish to hoop season

Wesley’s Brian Cameron is ranked third nationally in D-III scoring at 28.5 ppg. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Brian Cameron knew what people were saying.

“Don’t take it for granted,” they told him when he started his Wesley College basketball career.

Cameron just doesn’t know if he took those words to heart.

Now that Cameron is a senior, though, that idea really hits home for the Wolverines’ high-scoring guard.

“Now that I’m getting to this point, it’s really here, it’s really about to actually be over,” he said.

That being said, Cameron can’t complain about the way things are going for he and his Wesley teammates right now.

The Wolverines are 4-0 in the Atlantic East Conference, 10-7 overall going into today’s 4 p.m. league came at Cabrini (0-4 AEC, 3-14). They’ve won five games in a row and seven of their last eight.

With nine new players on the roster this season, coach Dean Burrows said it took a little while for Wesley to figure out some things. The Wolverines started the season just 2-5.

“I think we’re starting to see guys being more comfortable with each other on the court and guys filling roles,” said Burrows. “I think you’re starting to see some of those things that we went through early in the year play themselves out and pay off now.

“I just think him (Cameron) and our other seniors are starting to realize time is winding down. It hits us all at one point or another. I think those seniors are doing a great job.”

Cameron is ranked third nationally in Division III scoring at 28.5 ppg. Earlier this year, he became just the second Wesley player with 2,000 career points.

That’s a pretty impressive stat when you consider the Newark native wasn’t even a 1,000-point scorer at Delaware Military — although he did miss playing time with a knee injury. Cameron hasn’t scored fewer than 16 points in a game this winter, and that came in a lopsided Wesley win.

But as excited as Burrows is about Cameron’s scoring, he also likes the way the senior continues to develop as a complete player. Cameron has put up double-digit rebound totals in two of the Wolverines’ last three games and has a combined 19 assists in those three contests.

“The thing I like about what he’s doing right now is he’s trusting his teammates more,” said Burrows. “We told him, if you’re open on the perimeter, shoot it. He’s very good at that.

“But you see his assist numbers going up and he’s rebounding the ball very well.”

More than anything, Cameron would love to end his college career in the NCAA Division III tournament. Wesley hasn’t made the NCAAs since 2014.

Technically, as only a second-year league, the AEC won’t have an automatic tourney bid until next season. The NCAA, though, has a Pool ‘B’ spot reserved for a conference champion without an automatic bid — and the AEC is the only such league this winter.

The Wolverines still have two big games with defending AEC champion Gwynedd-Mercy, which is also 4-0 in conference games. Wesley hosts the Griffins next Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m.

“We’ve always talked about going to the NCAA tournament,” said Cameron. “It was always something to look forward to.

“I just feel like everybody’s fitting into their role now,” he said about the Wolverines. “Everybody’s confident in each other. We’re trying to lead by example but then really pulling everybody in and getting everybody to be one family.”

Rematches for DSU

Delaware State’s basketball programs will end a nearly two-week break between games when the Hornets meet North Carolina Central on the road today before traveling to North Carolina A&T on Monday.

Delaware State has not played since Jan. 13, thanks to the MEAC’s unbalanced schedule this year.

The Hornets’ last pair of conference games came against the same two opponents, when the Carolina schools made the trip to Dover two weeks ago.

The Delaware State men defeated North Carolina Central on a John Crosby buzzer-beater that give them their first Division I win this season. The Hornets then trailed by just four at halftime against A&T but fell in that contest 98-77.

Men’s coach Eric Skeeters said he wasn’t sure how playing the same two teams across four games was going to affect his players.

“I’d like to play someone else,” Skeeters said. “It feels like a series for us. They go and play other people though, but we just play the same teams back-to-back. I don’t know what to think about it.”

The Hornets don’t have to worry about any more layoffs. Their weekends are full from now until the end of the season.

“Now we don’t stop until March,” Skeeters said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Notes

Kevin Anderson’s length-of-the-court drive for the winning basket in Delaware’s 73-71 win over Hofstra on Thursday night was named the top play of the day on ESPN’s Sports Center.

Dante Trader Jr. of Delmar posted on his social media accounts he received scholarship offers from Boston College and Syracuse in football this week. Trader, who played his first two years of high school football at Delmar High before transferring to McDonogh High in Maryland, is verbally committed to play lacrosse in college at Maryland.

• The Delaware State women’s lacrosse team opened preseason camp this week — the first camp under new coach Pam Jenkins. She joined the Hornets this summer after a three-year stint as the head coach at Division II Notre Dame, Md. College.

The Hornets open the season Saturday. Feb. 15 at home against Lafayette at noon.

• Delaware men’s basketball coach Martin Ingelsby knew first-year forward Justyn Mutts would have his share of ups and downs this season. But Mutts’ swing in a span of three games was pretty wild.

Last Thursday, the 6-foot-7 sophomore scored zero points, took only two shots and had three rebounds before fouling out after 24 minutes of action in a loss to William & Mary. But, on Thursday, Mutts scored a career-high 30 points, on 14-of-17 shooting, with 13 rebounds, two assists and a pair of blocks in 37 minutes in a win over Hofstra.

• UD’s men’s lacrosse team is just two weeks away from its season opener. The Hens open on Feb. 8 by hosting Mount St. Mary’s at noon.