Share this article

print logo

CAMPBELL GROWING ACCUSTOMED TO OVERSEEING THE RUNNING OF THE BULLS

Louis Campbell was still in uniform long after the University at Buffalo's stunning 84-83 win over Akron on Monday.

"I wanted to savor the moment," he said.

Such moments have been rare for the Bulls, who are 4-14 overall and 2-7 in the Mid-American Conference going into tonight's game against Western Michigan (7-9, 3-4) at Alumni Arena (7:30, Radio 1520).

For Campbell, losing has been just a part of his frustration. A natural shooting guard, the 6-foot-2 junior was forced to move to point guard this season.

"Playing the point position is hard," Campbell said. "There's a lot of things I have to learn. With this team, the roles aren't clearly defined, so it's hard for me to know who to get the ball to. . . . I'm trying to do about a million different things instead of just making the simple play."

Adding to his task is the fact that, as the Bulls' top offensive threat, Campbell is the primary focus for opposing defenses.

"Most of the elite point guards in the NCAA like Scoonie Penn (Ohio State) have the same burden on them and they are still playing big-time ball," he said. "I just feel if they can do it, I can too. The only difference is they've been playing the position for a while and have had time to adapt to it. They're experienced in knowing when and how to make the right play. I'm determined to learn that. I'll get there."

Campbell's progress has been slow, but steady. While he has a team-high 62 turnovers, he is the only player in the MAC to lead his team in scoring (11.9 points per game), rebounds (5.5), assists (3.8) and steals (2.0). He also averages more than 32 minutes per game.

"I know it's a big adjustment to be thrown in and playing the point," UB coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "If we had another combo guard like Lou, it would make it a lot easier. He has to shoulder a big load and top of that, playing a lot of minutes.

"But I think it will help Lou's overall game in the long run. He has a lot of natural ability. It's the intangibles that we're trying to get him to understand. When someone is out of position, it's easy to say, 'You're out of position,' after the play's over. He's now recognizing where people need to be and telling them before the play happens. That shows that his vision and instincts are getting better and better."

Even more than his performance, Campbell's leadership has made Witherspoon proud. When Witherspoon replaced Tim Cohane as coach, there was a lot of dissension among the players. But Campbell was among the first players to accept the new coaching staff and he got the rest to fall in line.

Witherspoon said the players listen when Campbell has something to say. That was evident Monday night when he went into a tirade on the court after a defensive lapse by a teammate contributed to Campbell picking up his fourth foul with 6:55 to play.

"Everything inside me just came pouring out," Campbell said. "I was just sick of all the mistakes, sick of all the losing, just sick of everything. I wanted my teammates to know that I cared. In the end, I thought it was the best thing that could have happened."

Witherspoon agreed.

"Lou's the type of person who holds everything in," Witherspoon said. "When things bother him, his body language reveals his thoughts, and that sends a bad signal to his teammates. But that wasn't the case (Monday). What was important about his outburst was he was still competing."

Campbell's leadership will be put to the test again tonight as the Bulls look to avoid a letdown against Western Michigan.

Western has won its last three games, including a four-point win at Ohio last Saturday.

UB lost at Ohio by 15 points last week.

There are no comments - be the first to comment