March 15, 2013

Cameron Oliver 2.0

Kevin McCarthy

Pop. It's a sound you never want to hear, let alone experience, on the basketball court. Cameron Oliver unfortunately encountered both unpleasantries so now it's comeback time for the 2014 frontcourter.

photo of Cameron Oliver

Think about it. You're just 17-years-old and a remade version of you is already required.

The 6-foot-8 Grant High junior with the smooth shooting touch tore his ACL alongside a slightly torn meniscus back in October and missed the currently-winding down prep basketball season.

Those injuries threw his hoops plans into neutral, if not reverse, but he has made the most of such a scenario.

His new itinerary?

“Hopefully to get back on the court this summer,” he offered. That will be with his Spirit Got Game squad.

Ironically, the injury occurred soon after Oliver made a splash in leading his winning underclassmen squad in scoring with 19 points in the Nor Cal Clash.

Currently his direction is a focus on schoolwork and rebounding physically, with a little basketball as an appetizer

“I'm going to physical therapy every two weeks and I'm doing daily exercises on my own,” he explained. “My physical therapist says I'm doing better than the average person.”

He has also made a turnaround academically -- “I'm doing way better than last year. I have a 3.0 grade point average now.”

So maybe, just maybe, his furlough has a sort of silver lining.

“I have a different perspective now,” Oliver said. “In my freshman and sophomore years, I was the laziest guy on the court. Now I know what it's like to lose something. I'm motivated.”

Confirming the transformation in Oliver is Grant High Coach Deonard Wilson, whose team stands 23-8.

“Without Cameron, we wouldn't be at ARCO,” Wilson unequivocally stated. “He's at our practices, doing what he can without jumping and landing, and committed to making 100 free throws every day.”

Even though not on the court, it's the influence Oliver is wielding that impresses Wilson the most.

“In the game against Sacramento (which the Pacers won 72-69 on February 27), Cameron was in the locker room telling the guys 'we can beat Sac High.' He'll get on guys saying 'you don't know what it's like to sit on the sidelines and not be playing.”

The Oliver 2.0 version is looking better and better.