Coming off an ACC Tournament title winning season, the Virginia Tech Hokies will look to reload the roster with a talented recruiting class heading into the 2022-23 season. Currently, Virginia Tech is ranked in the top 30 in the country and top half of the ACC in terms of the consensus 2022 high school class rankings. This is certainly a rebound from last year’s class which mainly featured Sean Pedulla and was ranked 13rd in the ACC.
With four recruits heading into the program, Virginia Tech added their first transfer in this cycle with the addition of John Camden. A former three star from the class of 2021, Camden entered the transfer portal after redshirting his freshman season at Memphis due to an injury suffered early in the season. Camden will enter in as a redshirt freshman for the Hokies and will have four years of college eligibility on deck. Camden is a lanky 6’7 195-pound small forward who hails from Norristown, Pennsylvania.
Before he committed to Memphis, Camden played for a couple of high schools. He played for both Archbishop Carrol is DC and the Brewster Academy where he finished high school ball. The notes on Camden’s game below are from the Archbishop Carroll vs Abington PBP Classic game in 2019. This means the game was played during Camden’s junior season of high school so notes are certainly subject to change since the film is old.
Within the first minute, Camden dives on the floor for a loose ball off a missed corner three. The possession arrow didn’t go his team's way but you still love to see the hustle and competitive fire right out of the gate from Camden.
If you haven’t followed along with me so far, that’s fine but I implore you to flip to the 15:45 mark of the video for something special. Camden reads the in-bounders eyes all the way and reaches his long left arm in for a deflection. Once the ball is loose, Camden is once again willing to dive onto the floor for the ball. He scraps and claws for it on the ground until somehow he tips the ball with just enough force to a teammate for another possession.
Up until the 15:18 mark, Camden’s defense looked neutral. Not good but certainly not bad either. However, this play is fantastic as he blows up a dribble handoff action along the left wing. Camden slides his feet very well and has loose hips to slither into the handoff window without fouling. He gets an arm in there and then retracts it at just the right moment to avoid too much contact. The handoff is successful but Camden’s up close defense prevents any created advantage and the action stalls out.
Some good transition defense at 29:47 from Camden. It’s not easy to backpedal your way into a quality rim contest against an offensive player who’s charging in with a full head of steam on the fast break.
Scoring and Passing
A few possessions later, Camden gets his first points from a baseline dribble drive (5:06 mark). Camden attacks a closeout in transition and glides past his smaller defender for the uncontested layup.
In the first few minutes Camden had a couple slick laydown passes, this one at the 5:50 mark stands out as he executes a spin move into his dump off pass for some nice transition offense. This seems like an area of his game that needs further examination in more half court settings with traffic in the lane.
A great take from Camden at 16:37 as he shows his first real offensive flash. He starts his defender off with a smooth between the legs cross but there’s not enough space for a clean shot. Camden then drives in knowing that his defender is a bit shaken from the previous move. He stops his dribble just before the shading defender can pry his hand in from the right side. Finally, Camden barrels his way through contact for an off balance bucket off the glass.
Camden uses a crafty spin move once again in early offense. He decelerates quickly enough to freeze his defender and get them off his back. Then with no help at the rim, Camden can easily flow into a shot right after his smooth spin. (33:20)
Definitely some good and some bad in the play at 28:49. Camden attempts an awkward fadeaway shot which results in an airball. But after his team gets the offensive rebound, he rebounds with a three-point hit. It’s particularly good to see Camden use a shot fake and step behind the line instead of right in front of it since three points is worth more than two.
Well now John Camden is starting to feel himself from three. On back to back possessions, Camden lets it fly in transition and chases in both three-point shots. You love to see the confidence in his shot despite his shot not falling that night up until this point. Good shooters should never stop shooting or else they’ll have no chance to regain their shooting touch. (Clips at 30:33 and 30:50)
Camden is a very good shooter and it was evident throughout the second half of this game. At the 38:54 mark he nails an open spot up three. Like I said earlier, he was streaky in this game as he struggled to find his stroke early but the confidence never wavered. He’s a dangerous marksman from behind the arc who you can’t leave open.
Flip to 39:48 and you’ll see Camden knock down yet another off the dribble three.
Camden is a tough basketball player. He dove on the floor for a couple of loose balls and made several nice tip outs to teammates off the glass. He can be used as a spot up shooter from anywhere on the floor. They had him come off screens for three point looks on the move. He didn’t make these but this was more of a case of the shot not falling then a lack of ability. Attacking closeouts off the dribble seems to be another solid trait of Camden’s. Positionally expect Camden to slot in as a three or a four depending on the lineup construction. He’s far more of a wing than a forward and will provide Virginia Tech with more toughness and floor spacing.
Check out the rest of Will's scouting reports here.