Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez looked at some of the top big men in the class of 2007 and decided none could help his program as quickly as a certain post player from the class of 2005. That is the recruiting pitch Gonzalez used to land transfer Joey Cameron.
The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Cameron - who announced he was transferring from Auburn in March - committed to the Pirates on Monday. He took an official visit to the Seton Hall campus this past weekend. Cameron will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the upcoming season.
"Coach Gonzalez was very adamant that Joey could come in and make a bigger impact in three years than any post players he could get from the class of 2007," said Mike Turner, Cameron's high school coach. "We felt he had a great chance to make an immediate impact and that helped lead to his commitment."
Cameron arrived at Auburn last season as Rivals.com's No. 25-ranked power forward. The Class 3A Player of the Year in Alabama averaged 20 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks per game for Leeds High.
With the Tigers lacking any proven post players, he was expecting to play a big role immediately. However, he played just 11.4 minutes a game for the 12-16 Tigers and averaged 2.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 26 games.
"Auburn coach Jeff Lebo runs a guard-oriented system where they do a lot of pressing and stress getting up and down the floor," Turner said. "From what I saw the big men are mostly used to set ball screens, rebound and defend. It just wasn't a good fit for Joey."
Seton Hall, located in South Orange, N.J., offered a stark contrast to Auburn. The style of play helped the Pirates beat out schools like Maryland, Memphis, Michigan and Temple for Cameron's services.
"The bottom line is that Seton Hall is a basketball school where Joey has a great opportunity," Turner said. "At Auburn, everybody usually leaves after the school year. At Seton Hall there is a chance to play against good competition 365 days a year. It's just a 35-minute drive from New York City and the environment there and in the Big East - which is arguably the best conference with its expansion to 16 teams - is geared around basketball.
"Seton Hall offered the best opportunity to showcase Joey's attributes. He's a very aggressive rebounder and a guy that can put the ball in the basket if given the chance."
Cameron will definitely get the chance to play with some other talented players. He is the latest piece of a solid class that Gonzalez has put together. The Pirates landed letters-of-intent from four-star point guard Eugene Harvey, who is from nearby Newark, N.J., and three-star shooting guard Kashif Pratt from New York City. Harvey was one of the fastest-rising prospects this season, moving up to No. 67 in the 2006 rankings.
The Pirates are hoping to land one more senior, Rivals150 member Larry Davis. A former N.C. State commit who re-opened his recruitment, Davis has scheduled an official visit to Seton Hall beginning Wednesday.
Cameron plans to enroll in summer classes at Seton Hall beginning in June.