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vs. Binghamton (Thursday 19th)

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It's not as though Devonte Campbell, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound guard for the UAlbany basketball team, couldn't play.For the most part, anyone who gets a full basketball scholarship at a Division I institution has ability. Probably a lot.

For some players, it just takes a little longer for the coach to believe. Case in point: Will Brown, the coach at UAlbany, talking about Campbell, who made his first appearance in the starting lineup on Monday, in the Great Danes' 19th game:

"It took a while," Brown said. "It sure did," Campbell said, smiling.

When the Danes (10-9 overall, 1-3 America East) play Binghamton (9-10, 0-4) on Thursday night, those in SEFCU Arena will see a lot more of Campbell than they have seen before. That's because Brown has a lot more trust in Campbell than he did before.

Campbell earned that trust by continually working hard in practice, doing anything and everything to improve his game, and, more importantly, impress Brown and his staff.

He was rewarded when Brown, admittedly looking to shake things up after the Danes had started the league season with three straight losses, finally called Campbell's number when the Danes played at UMBC. The way he played in the 77-50 win will make it tough for Brown to remove him from the starting five.

Campbell, a sophomore from Vaughan, Ontario, had career highs in points (nine), rebounds (seven) and minutes (33) as the Danes ended the skid. He also assumed the role of lock-down defender and did that perfectly, helping to hold UMBC's Jairus Lyles (the top scorer in the league, 21.1 ppg) to only six points on 2-for-7 shooting from the field.

"Coach Brown is a huge guy on trust, and I didn't have his trust yet," Campbell said about the first half of his UAlbany career, which included nine games when he never got off the bench.

Campbell does bring something to the table that most teams in the league do not have — a big guard with a long wingspan who has the potential to be the guy who guards the opponents' top offensive player each night.

"I am trying to use my length to my advantage," Campbell said.

Brown almost raved about how well Campbell played against UMBC. And that begs the question: Why wasn't he playing more earlier in the season? Did Campbell learn how to play defense overnight?

Of course not. Brown said that early in the season, when Campbell wasn't playing, he thought the player more or less accepted his role as a bench sitter. Brown said Campbell never did not practice hard, but he did not seem to be preparing for games as if he might actually play in them. A few weeks ago, that changed.

"There had been a difference," Brown said. "The last two weeks, every single practice, it was like win or lose ... game on ... energy and enthusiasm. He had a fire in his belly. Before that, he never really had the sense of urgency. Now, it was like, 'Hey, coach, I am going to force you to play me.' I got the sense that he was going to do everything in his power to make sure we noticed him every day."

This has happened in the past at UAlbany. Players who were almost forgotten came from nowhere to become major contributors for Brown. Last year, David Nichols hardly played at all; this year he is the second-leading scorer on the team (16.2 ppg).

"It is tough when you're not playing," Nichols said. "(Campbell) knows what I went through last year. I kept telling him that he would get his chance and then he would have to take advantage of it."

Campbell got his chance and Marqueese Grayson, who was not producing enough even though he had started the first 18 games and was averaging 22 minutes per game, took a seat. Brown said that, for the time being, Grayson will not be part of the eight-player rotation. The three players he will use off the bench are Dallas Ennema, Travis Charles and Costa Anderson, who also spent most of the first two and a half months of the season sitting next to Campbell.

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Solid win.


Costa Anderson is a solid back up PG. Like him. Grayson is still able to work his way back in...just has to keep with it.


Nichols, shy of a couple of quick shots, had one of his better...smarter games. Good job.


Cremo...is unguardable when he wants to be.


I love watching Charles play.


Fruscio getting the rebound...and in the book!!! Good for another local.


Congrats Coach on number 250. And a very humble shout-out he gave to the administration (McElory and Benson) and, of great importance, Doc Sauers.

Edited by Dane96
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