Juco Big Man Visiting Maryland

The University of Maryland men's basketball staff is on the trail of another potential impact recruit for next year, and once again, TurtleSportsReport.com's Jeff Ermann has the scoop first for you ...

Our junior college sources indicated that Joey Cameron, a 6-foot-8 sophomore from Chipola (Fla.) junior college, will be visiting College Park next week, and when we followed up with Cameron he confirmed and said the staff has verbally offered him a scholarship and will be making a trip to Maryland.

"I have been talking to coach Driesell. He says they want someone who can come in right away and play with some experience. I've played at that level," said Cameroon, who has had stops at both Auburn and Seton Hall. "I think I just may [commit] if everything goes well."

Cameron, a native of Leeds, Ala., is a power forward who was rated a four-star prospect and the No. 21 power forward coming out of high school in 2005. He spent his freshman season at Auburn, where according to his high school coach and mentor Mike Turner, he was underutilized and didn't see much potential for individual growth.

"You don't bring a kid in to be an off-the-ball screener. Just be honest and tell him, you might only see five to eight post opportunities per game," Turner said. "I was talking to Charles Barkley about this other day; I don't think there's been any coach in Division I that has had as many players transfer in the time that Jeff Lebo has."

Barkley is a Leeds native and Leeds High alumnus, and Turner said his influence may have swayed Cameron toward Auburn, which is Barkley's alma mater. Turner said Lebo has no track record of developing big men, and that Cameron needs to play for such a coach, "like Gary Williams."

As a freshman, Cameron averaged 2.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in limited minutes at Auburn. Maryland, along with Temple and Michigan, was among the schools that inquired when he announced his plans to transfer. But he was impressed by then first-year Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez, and chose to become a Pirate.

But three months into his stay there, he violated team rules and was told he would have to sit out an extra semester. Already far from home and feeling like he was being treated unfairly, Cameron decided to move along. Turner said it was a relatively minor infraction and that Gonzalez told him he was being given no leeway because he was a first-year coach at a private Catholic school that was trying to clean up its basketball program's image at the time.

"I'm not going through all of this," he told Turner.

"Joey doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs, doesn't smoke. It wasn't anything like that. He's not a guy who is out partying or at the clubs," Turner said of Cameron, who speaks politley with a thick Alabama accent. "He likes farming and riding horses."

Turner then headed South again. With Turner's recommendation, he headed to perennial junior college power Chipola, where his sophomore season was up and down because of nagging soreness in a knee on which he'd undergone arthroscopic surgery as a high school sophomore. He made the decision to have surgery – performed by famed Birmingham surgeon Dr. James Andrews – and has been rehabbing for the past two months. Cameron said he's still sidelined and won't be playing in any pickup games during his visit to Maryland, but expects to be back at full strength by the fall.

Cameron "is a load" in the paint, says Turner, who describes him as having "country strength." He averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds as a high school senior, drawing offers from Alabama, Tennessee and Clemson, among a couple dozen other suitors.

"He played against guys like Travis Outlaw, Derrick Caracter and Greg Oden, and he never backed down," he said. "He can rebound, he has a nice little jump hook, very strong, plays hard and has good moves around the basket. He has an up-and-under and can block shots," Turner said. Cameron, who is also hearing from Kentucky, UAB, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Fresno State and Missouri among others, is excited about the visit. Some schools have been waiting to see how his knee is, and if he doesn't commit to Maryland, he'll visit others. He's never been to Maryland before but has followed the program and would like to be a part of it.

"I want to be somewhere I can enjoy myself. I'm really looking for a good fit, so the visit will tell the tale."

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