Forty-five players try out for Molalla boys basketball team
The Scott Campbell era got off to an optimistic start last week, as 45 players tried out for Molalla's boys basketball team.
Not bad for a program that has finished at the bottom of Class 4A the past three seasons, winning a combined 11 games, including a 2-20 record last year.
"It's actually one of the things that excited me about the program here is this opportunity," said Campbell, who spent last season at Class 2A City Christian in Portland, and previously coached the junior varsity team at Central Catholic.
Hired at Mollla at the end of April, Campbell immediately held tryouts to form summer teams.
The varsity squad played 28 games in June and then spent a week at Gonzaga University Team Camp in July.
"We struggled at Gonzaga camp in terms of wins and losses because we played against some really good teams from all over the country," Campbell said. "The guys competed and learned a lot. We got to see one of the best programs in the nation."
During the summer, Molalla also practiced twice a week and Campbell opened up the weight room three days a week.
"A lot of them had never lifted weights before," Campbell said. "I was starting from scratch. The idea when I started was we've got to get everything going as much as we can, started full throttle."
Since Campbell is not allowed to coach the team in the fall, per OSAA rules, a Molalla parent led a group of 10 players in a fall league.
Campbell is able to coach two players per day, which he took advantage of, working on shooting and ball handling with two players after school two days a week.
Campbell estimated around 20 kids participated throughout the fall, also working with assistant coach Arron Boone on Saturday mornings.
"It was encouraging because guys didn't have to come out," Campbell said.
The week before winter tryouts, 15-30 players turned out for conditioning, led by Molalla assistant football coach Thomas Waterman.
As part of changing the culture at Molalla, Campbell has also renovated the boys locker room, which was badly in need of repairs.
"I walked into this room and there was a hole in the ceiling, raining dripping in," Campbell said. "In the lockers were old chicken sandwiches. Behind the mirror was an old basketball card, (Seattle SuperSonics forward) Jack Sikma from 1978."
Along with repairing the roof and cleaning the room, Molalla had the walls and lockers painted.
"We did a lot of fundraising this summer," Campbell said. "We did a youth camp. We worked concessions at football games. We're just trying to create some energy and tell the guys that we believe in them."
On the court, Campbell expects the team to take a giant leap this season.
"We've got goals this year," Campbell said. "We want to be great. Our main goal in terms of big picture and wins and losses is we want to make the playoffs. We feel like if we can get in the playoffs then anything can happen. That is our goal."
The Indians open the season Dec. 4 at Riverdale.
"We're trying to build a championship program here," Campbell said. "Sometimes people laugh and smirk, but if we're not doing that, I'm not the guy for the job."
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