Previewing The Campbell Camels

Campbell @ StatSheet
2012 Stats
2012 Roster
2012 Schedule

Campbell Offense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 48.5 195
Turnover Rate 21.7 260
Off Reb Rate 33.9 114
FTA/FGA 41.3 84
Campbell Offense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 55.0 16
Turnover Rate 22.7 249
Off Reb Rate 33.0 159
FTA/FGA 50.8 8

Robbie Laing's career has taken some interesting turns in his nine years as the head coach at Campbell, and while I'm sure there are many things that could be said about the man, an unwillingness to tinker is not among them. Early in his career--when his teams were really, really bad--his Camels were among the fastest paced teams in the country. Judging by their impressively bad defensive numbers, it looks like he favored a press-heavy style.

He's pumped the brakes a bit since those early years as the program has slowly gotten more competitive and there has been less need for those more extreme measures. And this season could be a breakthrough of sorts for Laing, who has just one winning season to his credit. The 2012 Camels have some legit scoring threats and they've been one of the most accurate teams in the country. The usual schedule caveats apply here (SOS #311 according to Pomeroy) but they have some solid players who have put up impressive numbers, no matter the schedule.

Starters

Trey Freeman (6-2, 175) -- Laing may have gotten himself a steal in Freeman, who is an impact player averaging over 16 points per game in his first season of college basketball. He's done a good job of getting into the lane and drawing contact, and he also finishes well (at least so far), but his outside shot has been more of a question mark.

Rico Ferguson (6-2, 185) --Most of Rico's work is done inside the arc, so State defenders probably should hedge and play him for the bounce. Now in his second season, he has five career three-point attempts to his name. He's a second tier option for this team, though his high FT rate may be deflating his usage numbers and underestimating his influence. We'll see.

Darren White (6-4, 210) --The rare times I've had a chance to watch Campbell this year, I've made it a point to focus on White, because his numbers don't seem real. While taking 30% of the team's shots--a huge workload--he has hit 58.8% of his twos and 45.1% of his threes, which gives him an effective field goal percentage over 61%. He ranks in the top 250 in block percentage and fouls drawn per 40 minutes, and he ain't bad on the offensive glass either.

Marvelle Harris (6-6, 210) -- Harris is another role player and probably won't factor heavily into the scoring, but he brings some important skills to the team, including defensive rebounding and shot blocking. He just can't be allowed to touch the ball very often or in high traffic areas, because Fort Knox he is not.

Eric Griffin (6-8, 190) -- Griffin has made 70 of 103 two-point attempts this year. He's also willing to step outside, though he does that only occasionally. He's really good on the glass at both ends, he blocks a lot of shots, and draws a lot of fouls. Turnovers have been a big problem for him, but when he keeps those in check, he's been tough. Or maybe they've only played midget squads this season. Hard to say really. Love this dude, though.

Bench

Amir Celestin (6-1, 185), Anthony Horton (6-8, 210), Lorne Merthie (6-2, 190), Andrew Ryan (6-4, 185), Antonio Kalpic (6-9, 220).

Campbell Defense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.5 189
Turnover Rate 22.2 56
Off Reb Rate 33.4 234
FTA/FGA 51.3 337
Campbell Defense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 48.5 163
Turnover Rate 17.7 310
Off Reb Rate 30.6 103
FTA/FGA 41.9 263

Despite an offense with more oomph than they typically have over there down by the creek, the Camels are ranked #195 in the Pomeroy Rankings. Why? Well, here's your answer, Fishbulb. They just don't much care about playing defense. Laing has upgraded the athleticism on the team and they block plenty of shots, but they're a mess in just about every other sense. If there's one thing you can count on from Robbie Liang's teams, it is some shit-ass defense. (RIP shit-ass offense, 2004-2011.)

I like to think he's running some elaborate experiment in which he works years to recruit a bunch of guys who can jump really high and then tells them to be jumping up and down at all times at the defensive end. And the Popcorn Defense was born. That's probably not accurate. But I'll hold out hope until I see otherwise.

They could hang around for a while on the strength of some hot shooting on Thursday night, but I expect NC State will eventually overwhelm Campbell with too much offense. They do worry me a bit, though, since it seems like they've got a good matchup in NC State's takeaway-averse defense.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by 16.

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