Camara rising to the occasion in senior season

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 1/22/22

“His activity is the most important thing and the biggest thing for him,” Niemi said. “When he’s running the floor, offensively when he’s getting out in transition, that’s when you can see what he can do and recognize it. It’s all based on his activity.”

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Camara rising to the occasion in senior season

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Abou Camara is used to having to work to get where he wants to go.

As a sophomore, Camara was didn’t the Paetow JV team, but he dedicated himself to becoming a better player, didn’t take no for an answer, and developed to making JV as a junior and developing further.

“He was disappointed when he got cut as a sophomore and he found himself on his own,” said Paetow head coach Mike Niemi. “He got some guys to work out with, he was at the gym all the time and he was always shooting and training. Of course it helps that he grew five inches and it helps that he has a 37-inch vertical. All those things are hugely beneficial, but he took it upon himself to improve.”

Now in his senior year, the 6-foot-7 Camara has taken the next step, starting for the Panthers and being able to play both in the post and on the perimeter.

The perimeter game is especially something that Camara takes pride in, as he put in tireless work in the offseason to get better in that part of his game.

“I just feel more comfortable shooting and off the dribble,” Camara said. “It’s that part of my game where I’ve grown the most is just being confident enough to do that. Just shooting the ball when I’m open and then knowing when I can pump fake and drive inside too.”

His work on the perimeter has led to him garnering an even bigger role and being used not just as a power forward or center, but as a wing playwe as well.

“He’s proven it, he’s a guy who is constantly working on something,” Niemi said. “One of the areas of weakness where people have honed in on in the past has been his perimeter game. But he comes in and work on it. He works on attacking the rim, he works on jump shots, he works on all of this with us and on his own and it’s gotten to the point as a coach where you feel more comfortable giving him a few more freedoms.”

On defense, Camara makes things happen for Paetow with his length, athleticism and his tenacity. He never stops working and makes plays, turning defense into offense.

“His activity is the most important thing and the biggest thing for him,” Niemi said. “When he’s running the floor, offensively when he’s getting out in transition. When he’s playing around the rim and running back defensively, blocking shots and rebounding, that’s when you can see what he can do and recognize it. It’s all based on his activity.”

Paetow is coming off a trip to the regional semifinals and their goal is to take the next step and make it to a state championship game. Camara has enjoyed being a part of a team with such a singular goal and knows he will have to be at his best to help Paetow get where it wants to go.

“It’s a steady grind every day,” Camara said. “Every day we work, every practice we go to we have one goal. That’s to win state.”

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