Cam: The Early Years

Cameron Bennerman always loved sports. Born at Greensboro's Moses Cone hospital May 8, 1984, he was destined to be athletic.

His mother, Gloria Bennerman, says that Cam always had a big appetite. He wasn't a real picky eater; whatever happened to be served was good enough for him. After all, he was a young kid with a lot of energy and he wasn't particular about what foods gave him the energy he surely needed. One time, probably around 2nd grade, Rick Bennerman, his dad, was running late in getting Cam to school. Gloria had already left for work, and the responsibility in getting their young son to school fell on his shoulders. Seeing that time was short, Rick stated in no uncertain terms, that they would be leaving for school in 10 minutes regardless of how much of his breakfast Cameron had finished. 2nd grader Cameron wouldn't be rushed. While his father was out of the room, he stood up in his chair, and moved the clock back, giving himself more time to enjoy his morning meal. This wouldn't be the only time the youngster would use his wits to help himself get through the vagaries of a 2nd graders day.

As a young boy, Cameron was just like many kids his age. He loved Ghostbusters, and anything that read Ghostbusters was required goods for him. And when it came to TV, Fraggle Rock was his thing. He really loved to read. According to his mom, he'd read anything he could get his hands on. He always liked his school. He attended Aycock, Allen Middle, and Grimsley High while growing up in Greensboro. He was usually there. His parents would be hard pressed to remember a day when Cam would pretend to be sick so that he could miss a day and stay home. School was cool for him. His father states that he was never a "kid in trouble". He kept his nose clean, and pretty much was the kind of youngster that any parent could be proud of.

When he was very young, soccer was his favorite sport. He started in the Greensboro Youth Association league when he reached the age of 5. Cameron was talented. According to his father, he became bored with soccer around age 9 because he dominated the other kids. He was known for the big kick that he possessed. His mother, at times had to try to tone down the energy emanating from the talented and athletic kid, but when you're 9 years old and bored with the sport you're competing in, you find something else. And that's just what Cam did. For him, it was basketball.

He was somewhat of a natural at basketball. He was between 11 and 13 when he started winning awards at the local Achievements Unlimited basketball camp run by a group of NBA stars, including Michael Jordan. It was around that time that he began sleeping with a basketball. He carried it everywhere he went., whether it was school, the mall, or hanging out with friends, it just didn't matter! Rick says that he believes Cam still sleeps with a basketball to this day. There's no telling if he likes rubber or leather . Not all of his athletic ability may necessarily be from his bloodlines. Both his parents tell of young Cameron walking through the house, jumping up at every door jam and "slapping 5" on the jam's top. You knew you were at the Bennerman household by the sheer number of palm prints that seemed to greet you as you passed under each doorway of the home.

Like many parents, Rick and Gloria wanted Cameron to participate in any way that might encourage the budding athlete. One way to do this was to compete with the best players around in AAU basketball. Gloria agreed to accompany the team in it's travels so that she could keep an eye on him. She went on most all of the trips, including the one where Cameron may have gotten his first dunk. It was at a tournament in Memphis, TN, and Cameron was only 13! Gloria believes that playing AAU was a big help in the maturation from a young kid with tons of potential to a young man ready to see how bright his star may shine.

Cameron had always dreamed of graduating from Grimsley. His friends were there, and that's exactly where he thought we would be. However what we want and what we need are sometimes two entirely different things. Cameron needed some more academic structure according to Gloria. At just over an hour north from Cam's hometown of Greensboro, NC, Hargrave was a solution to many needs. Rick liked the idea of the discipline he would learn, in addition to playing basketball against better competiton, playing older, more mature opponents night in and night out, and learning what it's like to be on a team with many other heralded athletes. Cam talked to an Uncle and some cousins to ask their advice on making the move. At first, he contemplated the intelligence of his decision. The uniforms were not his style. The structure, and military style life weren't what he was used to. Given some time to assimilate into the school, he now sees the benefits. Gloria and Rick were not the type to tell Cam that he had to go to school there. They wanted the decision to be his. It appears he made the right choice. Cameron has made new friends. Especially Trent Strickland, who will suit up for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons next year, and Stanley Asumunu, a wonderful athlete from Houston ,TX , who will play at Tennessee. Other team members include Mario Boggans, who will play for Billy Donovan at Florida.

When deciding where to go to colllege, Cameron had a plethora of suitors. He wasn't as highly ranked as some because he did the smart thing after his junior year and went to summer school instead of joining the summer circuit to improve his basketball stock. The one that stood out, North Carolina State University, had been recruiting him the longest. Since 9th grade Cam has been receiving material in the mail touting the benefits of an education in Raleigh. Once again, Rick and Gloria wanted Cam to make the decision for himself. They did however hope and pray that he would choose a university that would allow them to see him play in person, and not be too far away for the occasional trip home for a holiday or weekend. Raleigh fit all their needs. Another thing that Rick says was paramount for Cam was a real academic education. Shortly after arriving at Hargrave, Cam called his mom to talk about school. He told her that he was beginning to understand that school was more than consuming and regurgitating information so you could pass a test. He was learning. He was seeing the light.

Rick said the decision to attend NCSU was made even easier because of the coaches who have recruited Cam for so long. Rick calls head coach Herb Sendek "a hell of a man". Larry Harris went to see Cam play from back when he was still at Grimsley, and has been a positive force in the recruitment. Both parents believe Cameron will receive the academic and athletic challenge he needs in Raleigh. Most WolfPack fans are excited to have the 6'4" 190lb High School Senior suit up at the ESA in 2002-2003.

Now the only question is, will Julius Hodge allow him to wear his favorite number 24. Cam saw a jersey with his name and number on it during his official visit this year. Maybe Jules was just keeping it warm for him.

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