Campbell desperately seeking his shooting mojo
Story by: PETE McNAE - Photo by: Evan Barnes
The frustration is etched clearly on Pete Campbell's face.
In recent weeks, the basketballer brought from Indiana to help bolster the Fico Finance Nelson Giants' offence has endured more three-of-13 shooting nights than he cares to contemplate.
He's getting the shots where he wants them – they are just not dropping often enough.
Campbell is compensating in other areas. Last Saturday's win over Otago saw him snaffle 12 rebounds; he even blocked a shot that slipped past the game statisticians as he works hard to make a defensive impact.
But he's keen to see that shooting percentage back where it was at the start of the Bartercard NBL season.
"Every shooter will go through a stretch where the shots won't fall. It's definitely not an easy situation," Campbell said.
"The team is winning, which makes my individual frustration a little easier to stomach, but I would love to see the first three go through the net against Taranaki."
The Giants host Taranaki's Mountain Airs at 3pm tomorrow in an Anzac Day shootout.
The earlier tipoff will allow the visitors to travel back to New Plymouth soon after the match while the statutory holiday should see a reasonable crowd taking time out in the afternoon to see if the Giants can maintain an unbeaten home record.
Campbell, who shot three-pointers at better than 50 per cent in his college career and on subsequent stops in German pro leagues, started his Nelson season converting at a similar clip.
Then came an apparently innocuous stumble in the March match against Southland – and the start of the slide.
Campbell was tripped up by Sharks guard Kevin Braswell and hit the floor. He left the court for treatment but returned later and seemed to have run off the injury.
However, he had damaged a hip flexor muscle which is only now starting to come right.
"I'm very familiar with the mechanics of my shot and I truly didn't realise the impact the injury would have on my game," he said.
"I was compensating for the injury, which changed how I went into my shot, took my legs away a bit, changed my balance ... the whole way I have shot the ball for years has been compromised."
What has not altered is the Giants' support of their team-mate.
Campbell said he was constantly being urged to look for his shot, despite the recent slump.
"The guys have been great, they keep finding me with the ball so I'd love to pay them back by knocking some shots down."
He said the range of motion and strength were returning to his leg and he was looking forward to contributing against Taranaki tomorrow.
Nelson were in a bad way when they lost to Taranaki on the road on April 5 but have started to turn the corner, with Campbell crediting greater attention to detail and more passionate play for the recovery.
"It's always about effort and intensity for us," he said.
"When we come out and punch the other team in the mouth at the start, we tend to do well. In that losing streak, we were the ones getting punched."
Throughout his shooting struggles, Campbell has tried to stay busy and keep his standards high.
However, he credits coach Chris Tupu with putting everything in perspective.
"Toops breaks it down ... he just tells you when things are going great, that you are not as good as you think you are and when they are lousy, that you not as bad as you think you are."
The Giants are urging fans to dress in blue tomorrow, with goodies on offer for the most "out there" outfits.
Prizes include more than $2000 worth of toys from Toyworld Nelson, Tania Tupu earrings from Coastal Merchant and vouchers from Enriching Dayspa, the Richmond Mall, the Verdict and Stables Restaurant and Bar.
Fans are asked to be seated by 2.45pm to allow Barry Pont, of the RSA, to lead a brief memorial for those who served New Zealand.