Cameron Commits to Cougars

Bronco Mendenhall is not the only new head coach at BYU enjoying early recruiting success. Head Basketball Coach Dave Rose is also getting it done on the recruiting trails. Coach Rose just secured his first verbal commitment for the recruiting class of 2006.

Jordan Cameron is a 6'5", 200-pound shooting guard/small forward from Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park, California. On Wednesday night, Cameron verbally committed to play basketball for the Cougars of Brigham Young University. With his decision, Cameron became the first member of the 2006 BYU basketball recruiting class.

The recruiting scene was just beginning to heat up for Cameron. He received offers from BYU and Santa Barbara, and Utah and Utah State were starting to show serious interest. A verbal commitment in August is very early by basketball recruiting standards, but Cameron is confidant in his decision.

"I just wanted to get it out of the way," said Cameron. "There was a lot of pressure so I just wanted to be done with it. I always wanted to go to BYU so I just got it out of the way quick.

"I was thinking about going on a mission and I think BYU will help me prepare for a mission. I've liked the school since I was little. My dad played there and my grandpa played there, so generation-wise it's cool."

Stanley Cameron, Sr. played basketball for the Cougars in the early 60's and Jordan's father, Stan Cameron, Jr., walked onto the basketball team in the early 80's. Skill with the roundball is not limited to the men in the Cameron family. Jordan's sister Brynn was a 2005 Freshman All-American at USC.

BYU has been aware of Jordan for a while, but it was not until several outstanding performances at summer tournaments that Cameron's recruiting stock shot up.

"Jordan got invited to a pretty high profile camp here in LA and he made the final – I guess the top 16 players in the thing," said Stan Cameron. "So they just kept watching him and watched probably every game he played in the summer."

The West Coast All-Star Camp was a real coming out party for Jordan. The camp is an invitation only event that draws the top talent from the west and then creates teams that play in a round-robin tournament. Jordan was honored as one of the top 16 players at the camp.

"The West Coast All-Star Camp is pretty high—lots of "big names" there—and Jordan did really well," said Stan. "He was written up by Greg Hicks as, "Who is this kid?". Then from that point on everyone started watching him."

As is often the case for LDS mission-bound athletes like Cameron, some schools were scared off by unfamiliarity with the effect of missionary service on an athlete.

"Every Ivy League school was after him, Utah, Utah State, Santa Barbara offered him San Diego State, pretty much all of them were there," said Stan. "We are Mormon so they all wanted to know if he was going on a mission. The really high profile schools asked me if he was going on a mission, and I said yeah, and they said it was hard for them because they aren't really used to that."

Another factor that contributed to the elevated recruiting attention for Jordan was a recent growth spurt.

"BYU came out and watched Jordan play last year but he was only 5'11", 6', maybe," said Stan. "Now he is a legitimate 6'5 ½", almost 6'6."

When Jordan injured himself playing high school volleyball as a sophomore, he was told by doctors that he would likely grow to be 6'6" to 6'7", which means he could still add some height before suiting up with the Cougars. With the change in height came a change in positions for Jordan.

"I still play point a little bit, but as a freshman I was really small, like 5'6", so I played point guard a lot," said Jordan. "I grew my sophomore year and I started moving up in the height, but I kept playing point guard because it was good for my shooting and my guard skills. Now I play shooting guard"

Still 16 years old, Cameron will likely add body mass in the years to come. No matter what his weight or height was, Cameron has always brought an aggressive, tough style of play. Stan Cameron reported that one thing Coach Rose indicated he liked about Jordan was his toughness.

"In an AAU game Jordan went in to dunk on this guy and the guy undercut him and he landed on his back," recalled Stan. "The next play Jordan went back dunked on the kid and [BYU Coaches] just liked that. He's pretty tough."

Jordan cites his athleticism, his ability to get out and run and get up and down the court, and his penchant for rebounding as the strengths of his game.

During his junior season at Newbury Park High, Cameron put up some good numbers that are made all the more impressive by the fact that, as the best player on his team, he was constantly double and triple-teamed. He averaged 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals per game.

As a junior, Cameron also discovered that he has skill as a football player. At the insistence of a friend, he joined his high school team half-way through his junior season. He had 15 receptions in five games, including eight touchdowns. Those numbers are certainly not earth shattering, but they were enough to merit all-league honors. The numbers he put up at a football combine this spring, on the other hand, were much more noteworthy.

"He went to a combine just as a joke to see how it went," said Stan. "He ran a 4.6 forty and had a 36 to 39 inch vertical leap, depending on who you talk to, with a 4.2 shuttle and everyone was like, ‘Who the heck is this kid?'"

Coach Barry Lamb of the BYU football team is aware of Jordan, but it does not appear likely that he will be a two-sport athlete at BYU.

Cameron has a 3.5 GPA and will take the ACT in October. He will have plenty to keep him busy beside the ACT between now and the time he enrolls at BYU.

"I got football and everything, but after football I am going to hit the weights pretty hard," said Cameron. "I'll go to the gym a lot and work hard in the gym—put shots up and stuff, work on my body and mainly lift weights."

Total Blue Sport will follow Cameron's performance on the field and in the gym over the next year.

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