Leeds Force’s first BBL season has been punctuated by a series of important breakthroughs, the latest being that of Dwayne Camille.
The 21-year-old’s statistics may not have jumped off the page this term, but it can be little coincidence that some of his best performances have coincided with the club’s first back-to-back victories.
Not only that, but Force coach and Leeds Beckett University director of basketball Matt Newby, feels it offers a measure of validation for the development programme, of which Camille is progressing through.
Playing more than 17 minutes in a game for the first time since October, Camille had 15 points against Worcester Wolves recently before coming up with the clutch three-pointer to down Surrey United.
This was followed by another start against Manchester Giants last Sunday, as Force recorded two wins in a row.
“Dwayne Camille hit a really big shot [against Surrey],” said Newby.
“He has been improving all the way through the season and I am really happy with him.
“He actually had a very good performance against Worcester as well.”
His coach added: “He has been with us with for two seasons now and he’s beginning to show that he is a domestic player and we have got to be happy with that.
“It says that what we are doing is right.”
Like many promising players, Camille had the determination to do the right things instilled in him from a young age.
The guard made his early strides in the game at Lewisham Thunder, under the tutelage of one of the most successful British players of all-time, Steve Bucknall.
Bucknall played his college basketball at the University of North Carolina for legendary coach Dean Smith before going on to represent the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA and competing all over Europe.
He is now having a positive influence on the development of countless young players, and Camille considers himself lucky to be among them.
“Most of my development came from my junior years as I was coached by Steve Bucknall when playing for Lewisham Thunder,” said Camille, who also went on to attend Harris Academy.
“He taught me everything I know about basketball, especially on the defensive side, which is where my game’s strengths are.
“I think because he knows exactly what to do in every situation, as he’s played for many, many years and has defended great players, it comes to him as second nature, instinct almost.
“This must make it much easier for him to then teach other players the same, especially those still in the cognitive stage of their learning.
“Now I have developed a much better offensive game as my understanding of basketball has improved, which I give credit to both my coaches Matt Newby and Samit Nuruzade.”
Leeds and their staff have learned together how to compete in the BBL and are fast approaching their target of 10 wins.
Reaching that goal would mark the latest in a line of advances this term and the continued progress of talented individuals, such as Camille, is only going to aid that process.
Camille added: “The season has been a tough one for us, however, we have adapted very well, being competitive against top-calibre teams is one of our many achievements this season and is something to be very proud about as a ‘rookie’ in this league.
“The best thing I can do is continue to do what I’ve been doing and that’s work hard in practice and when nobody is around.
“My main goal is to raise the intensity at practice so in the game my team-mates are used to intensity and can stay composed throughout the game.”
Leeds Force are next in action against BBL Championship leaders Newcastle Eagles tomorrow. For more information about tickets visit www.newcastle-eagles.com.