When the Husson College men’s basketball team opens practice Thursday, one of the Braves’ established players will be conspicuously absent.
Bobby Campbell, a three-year fixture with the NAIA team in Bangor, said he decided at the end of last season he would forego a fourth year and leave his basketball career behind.
“There were a lot of reasons, it was nothing specific,” said Campbell, a former All-State player out of Calais High School who transferred to Husson after one year at the University of Maine. “I just felt it was time to wrap it up.”
Campbell, 23, said the fact he landed a full-time job with Eastern Fine Paper and was settling into family life in Bangor with his wife, Tammy, were factors in his decision. So was a chronic back ailment that had kept him out of the Braves lineup on and off during his career.
“The back figured in, but it wasn’t the whole reason,” he said.
Campbell made his mark with Husson in his abbreviated career. The 6-foot-3 guard scored 1,043 points, ranking him 16th on the school’s all-time scoring list. He also amassed more than 370 assists, placing him fourth all-time in that category.
“Obviously, Bobby meant a great deal to our program in a lot of different ways,” said 25th-year Braves head coach Bruce MacGregor. “Not only was he talented, but he was also a great leader. On the court, he was a stabilizing factor for us. He really gave us a special quality.”
Campbell, who is still taking classes and plans to graduate in December with a degree in business management, said he will miss the game.
“I have mixed feelings leaving it behind. There are still some guys on the team I’ll miss. I’ll miss hanging around with them more than anything. I had a great time. There are a lot of great memories. I’m glad Husson gave me the chance to get a free education and play ball at the same time,” he said.
The highlight of his career, according to Campbell, was playing for the 1989-90 Husson team that was ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City.
“That whole year was a highlight,” said Campbell, who plans to help assist Eastern Maine Technical College hoop coach Chris Young this winter.
Husson begins its first official practice of the season at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Three starters and eight lettermen return from last year’s 27-10 team, which advanced to the NAIA Div. II National Tourey in Texas.
Returning starters are 5-9 junior guard Ray Alley, 6-4 senior forward Scott Brown, and 6-5 senior forward Jeff Shakoor. Also back are 6-7 senior center Jake Dragutinovic, 6-4 junior swingman Corey Smith, 6-4 junior forward Rich Mazurek, 5-10 junior guard Victor Garay, and 6-1 junior guard Dwayne Knowlton.
Top newcomers are 6-9 junior college transfer Tiffin Ballou of Passaic, N.J., 6-6 transfer Darren Toon from Iona, 5-11 freshman point guard Bryan Jefferson of Washington, D.C., 6-7 sophomore forward Rob Rice, a junior college transfer out of New Haven, Conn., 6-foot freshman guard Jason Belanger of Caribou and 6-6 freshman forward Rick Sinclair of Hermon.
“We’ve got the makings of another strong team,” said MacGregor, who needs six wins to reach 500 for his career.
The Braves open the season Oct. 24-25 at the University of New Brunswick tournament.