WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Amber Campbell came to Wake Forest as a scorer — the third most prolific scorer in South Carolina high school history with 4,155 career points.
But Demon Deacon head coach Jen Hoover needed more than just scoring from the versatile guard from Charleston.
“We knew Amber could put that little orange thing through the rim. We watched her play plenty of games and knew that she could score in buckets,” Hoover said. “What we’ve asked her to do from day one is defend the best player on the other team.
“I think Amber has done a great job of understanding that she can score at this level, but she can also take a lot or responsibility at the defensive end. That probably doesn’t get as noticed as it does for our staff.”
Campbell has started every game for the Deacs in her first two seasons in Winston-Salem, and led the her team in scoring last season at 13 points per game.
She wants to continue to improve her game as the Deacs look to parlay last year’s NIT appearance to a NCAA berth this season.
“Each year, I try to improve my game,” Campbell said. “I want to attack more and find my open teammates. I’ll have more confidence taking pull-ups and shooting from long range. I’ve been pushing myself as a leader and being more vocal with my teammates.”
Hoover has been impressed with Campbell’s attitude and fearlessness.
“She’s picked up things quickly. We put a lot of her, and she’s never backed down from it. She wants more,” she said. “She wants to play the point. She’s very confident with the ball in her hand. As a junior, she knows what’s expected of her. She’s such an explosive kid that can score in a variety of ways.”
Rated as a top 50 player nationally, Campbell had plenty of scholarship offers, ultimately decided on Wake over South Carolina, Florida and Georgia.
“I came from a private school, and Wake is a private school as well. I wanted to help turn this program in the right direction, and academically this is a great school,” Campbell said. “The chemistry with coaches and teammates made this feel like a family. It’s also close to home - only four-and-a-half hours away.
“It is tough in the classroom. It has lived up to the expectations I was looking for. My coaches also have high expectations for me this upcoming season and the year after. I can’t wait.”
The next step for Campbell is to help her team make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988.
“Getting to the NIT last year - it was our first time. We’re looking forward to making the NCAA Tournament — that would be a major step for us,” she said. “We have to keep working really hard every day of practice. We can’t wait for this season to start.”