Danilewicz: The Fifth Quarter

It's not a case of wu-shu kung fu for Mark Campbell. Learning the flex has led to a pure appreciation for the offensive set -- one he used to hate playing against.

The 5th Quarter

 

Rainbows get to ‘flex' some muscle

 

Execution, chemistry give Hawaii edge on the comp

 

By Jack Danilewicz

RSN Writer

Friday, Feb. 15, 2002

 

HONOLULU -- For Mark Campbell, an old nemesis has become a trusted friend. Ask him about the flex offense now, and his rate of speech accelerates a bit.

 

"I hated playing against it, and I love running it," says Campbell. "When I played in Junior College (at Clackamus Community College), we played against the second-best team, Lane Community College, three times, and they ran it and I hated it with all of the picks and the motion.

 

"Now I enjoy running it because it creates a lot of opportunities, both scoring and passing. We have great shooters and good post players, but the biggest thing is that we have smart basketball players who can make reads with it (the flex)."  

 

Hawaii may not be the first school to employ the flex, but perhaps no one does it better, as SMU coach Mike Dement suggested recently. Moreover, on a team that already creates match-up problems for everyone on its schedule, the Most Valuable Player of this Hawaii team may be the offensive scheme itself. 

 

With that in mind, Campbell has emerged as the catalyst for the Rainbow Warriors, the glue that holds them together. A year ago, Hawaii had more turnovers than assists. This winter, Hawaii leads the WAC in turnover-assist ratio, the statistic that matters most. 

 

"They (coaching staff) said this year that we picked it up better than any other team they've had," says Campbell. "And as a point guard, I took pride in learning it and watching film of it. I like having the ball in my hands. All I'm trying to do is act like I'm going hard to the hoop so I can get somebody (defensively) to help and get a great shot for one of our good shooters."

 

Campbell is second on the team behind Carl English in minutes played, averaging 32.8 per game. He's also averaging 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

 

"He fills his role," Hawaii coach Riley Wallace says. "He shows leadership out there, he gets our offense started, and he's a good defender. We didn't have point guard defense last year, and he gives us that."

 

Of course, before Hawaii could plug Campbell into the lineup, the Rainbow Warriors had to win the recruiting battle to get him. In addition to Hawaii, he had scholarship offers from Santa Clara, Eastern Washington, Portland, Creighton and Tulane.  

 

When he narrowed his selection to two, only Santa Clara and Hawaii were left.


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