Get Buckets. Antonio Campbell's twitter handle (@GetBuckets33) is indicative of what he is about to do this year. At least that's the plan.
The junior forward has been a nice option to have in the paint and beyond over the last two years, despite occupying some of the same space as former star forward Maurice Ndour. In a way, Ndour opened opportunities for Campbell as attention was directed at the versatile Senegalese big man, so now Campbell will operate as the focal point of opposing defenses. How he will respond is one of the more important questions that figures to be answered in the early part of the schedule.
Campbell, who has been named a preseason All-MAC East team member, comes in as the most important returnee for a team that didn't fair too well in Coach Saul Phillips' first season in Athens. Last year, Campbell used his sturdy but nimble frame to grab 7.6 boards per game while netting exactly 10 points per contest despite not starting at the onset of the season. And yes, he has gotten even bigger, (now 6'10" 260 lbs. thanks for asking).
Campbell will need to improve his all-around shooting touch after shooting 48.4 percent from the field (which was actually tied for tops on the squad). He did so while knocking down 34.1 percent of his shots from downtown and figures to have the opportunity for even more shots from beyond the arc as Ohio implements an offense that looks to utilize the abilities of big men Campbell and Kenny Kaminski to step out and shoot from distance and to roll to the bucket for one-on-one low-post scoring opportunities.
Campbell and the Bobcats will greatly benefit if the big man can use his feet on the block to get to the charity stripe more. Just 48 trips to the free throw line that resulted in 30 makes is a stat that won't cut it this season. And given the number of three-point shots Ohio is likely to take, expect Campbell to continue to be a stud on the offensive boards (1.9 per game last season) by pulling down long rebounds. He must do this while cutting down on silly tick-tack fouls as he fouled out of five contests last season. With new emphasis being placed on physicality down low around the paint in college basketball, this part of Campbell's game could cause potential problems, especially for a team that does not have another proven low-post scorer.
With transfers like Jaaron Simmons and Kaminski potentially opening up the floor for Campbell, MAC fans should expect to see Campbell develop his all-around game into something of beauty. How that will look is largely up to how the new look Ohio Bobcats function as a unit this winter and coming spring. Campbell's productivity will be the most important aspect of Saul Ball in 2015-2016. How it will manifest is the question.