Brandon Campbell says he has never met a shot on the basketball court that he didn’t like.
The 6-foot-4 Fletcher School senior guard has made most of his attempts over his year-and-a-half tenure as a Falcon, averaging 30.9 points per game as a junior (second in North Carolina behind Shelby’s Gabe DeVoe, now playing at Clemson) and 31.9 points this year, currently second in the state, according to MaxPreps.com.
Campbell, 18, works tirelessly, launching hundreds of shots daily at the gym or on his backyard court, where he often can be found competing with his younger brother, Jordan, a freshman on the Mallard Creek junior varsity team.
“My brother and I love to work on our shots and our games together as much as possible,” said Brandon Campbell, who was home-schooled from eighth through 10th grade but played on Carolina Basketball Club teams. “Our favorite drill is a shooting drill that we call the ‘Carolina Drill.’ In that drill, you shoot from five different spots from the 3-point line, including both corners, both wings and the top of the key. You take 100 3-pointers from each spot, but you have to make 75 (of 100) to move to the next spot.
“A lot of times, we are out there for hours just shooting and listening to music while we work out. I love every minute of it.”
Campbell has the green light to shoot from Fletcher School head coach Greg Mangum. Campbell is making the most of his touches this season despite a constant barrage of double and triple teams and other defenses focused on him.
Campbell has helped the Falcons to their best start in school history at 6-2. He also is playing the most efficient basketball of his career, shooting 67 percent from the field (96 of 144), 59 percent from behind the 3-point line (16 of 27) and 73 percent from the foul line (47 of 64).
Campbell also averages 9.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game for Fletcher.
He had a career-high and school-record 46 points in a 76-74 overtime win against Central Academy at Lake Park, going 16-for-23 from the field and scoring all nine points in overtime.
Campbell also had 44 points and 15 rebounds in a 91-84 loss to Charlotte United Christian.
“Brandon just has a natural ability to score, and he can do it from anywhere, shooting from the outside, pulling up mid-range or going to the rim,” said Mangum, who is 23-34 in his tenure at Fletcher School. “He just keeps getting better and better. This year, his shot selection is so good, he actually is too unselfish at times.
“We figured that he scores 45 percent of our points, but only takes 32 percent of our shots. He has grown a ton as a player and he knows how to get open with or without the ball, and also when to find his teammates.”
Campbell has benefited under the tutelage of Mangum, 32, who was an All-Southwestern 4A conference basketball and baseball player at East Mecklenburg High (graduating in 2001), before earning second-team All-ACC honors as a second baseman at North Carolina (2005 graduate).
Mangum also was capable of lighting up the scoreboard when he played basketball. He had 34 points in the highest-scoring game in N.C. High School Athletic Association history when East Meck beat Harding 124-121 in triple overtime Nov. 21, 2000.
“Coach Mangum is definitely one of the top coaches I’ve ever played for,” Campbell said. “He was a great athlete and has a true passion for the game and he really pushes us every day.”
While Campbell’s efforts on the court have received recruiting attention from Division II and III schools including Limestone and Randolph-Macon, he wants to prove he can be a Division I player.
Campbell, who weighs 160 pounds, knows he needs to get stronger and has increased his bench press and squat weights in the offseason.
He also carries a 4.1 GPA.
“My dream has always been to play Division I (basketball), and I’d be lying if I told you anything different,” said Campbell, who wants to major in mechanical engineering in college. “I know there are a lot of deserving players working towards the same goal. But I feel like all I need is for a coach to open that door for me and I would explode through it. I just need that one chance.”