Earlier this season on the road, Southwestern College senior Cameron Hunt scored his 2,000th career point as a member of the men’s basketball team. Just a few months later, he made history on the road again — this time becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer with a second-half floater Monday in the team’s 86-81 road victory against Kansas Wesleyan.
The previous record was held by 2016 grad Cameron Clark. Clark was a senior when Hunt came on to the program and immediately the two had a special bond and fed off one another on and off the basketball court. Clark is now working on his professional basketball career with a Luxembourg club overseas.
“Cameron Clark has played a big brother role in my life ever since I got to Southwestern,” Hunt said. “He taught me that putting God first and doing the right thing every single day will pay off in the long run. I took this philosophy and ran with it. I will forever be grateful for him.”
Hunt is enjoying a career season with the Builders and has a strong argument to be one of the most valuable players in the entire country. Currently averaging 30 points per game, he ranks No. 2 in NAIA Division II and has been named KCAC Player of the Week three times and NAIA National Player of the Week. He also is second in the nation in assists per game and ninth in free-throw percentage.
While the stats and big moments are seen externally through fans and other outlets, his coaches know how hard he has worked to get to where he is now. Consistency within his work ethic no matter the surrounding conditions or outside noise is what makes Hunt such a viable piece to the men’s basketball team’s success and 19-2 record this year.
“Win or lose, sick, cold, tired, not feeling well — it does not matter.” associate head coach Tim Miser said. “He just gets in and gets his work done. Sometimes early in the morning, sometimes before practice, sometimes after, or it could be late night. You never have to worry about him getting his work in. If he misses a bunch of shots or makes all his shots in the game before, he is still doing the same work. It never changes.”
The Builders (15-2 KCAC) sit just one game behind Oklahoma Wesleyan for first place. Yet, due to the fact the Builders gave the Eagles their only loss of the season, winning out would net them their second straight regular-season title. However, Hunt and the rest of the team are focused on winning games moving forward.
“Breaking the school record means a lot to me, as it showed me the value of patience and hard work,” Hunt said. “I feel this could be an inspiration to others of things you can accomplish in life with the art of hard work.”
Head coach Matt O’Brien noted earlier in the year at KCAC Media Day that he thought this year’s team may have even more chemistry as a whole than last year’s KCAC winners.
This mindset is also instilled in the mind of Hunt, who knows his success would be nothing without his teammates and coaches and winning attitude they come out with each and every day.
“My favorite thing about playing at Southwestern is playing for a coaching staff that wants to win just as bad as you do,” Hunt said. “Coach (O’Brien) has made me a better man on and off the court. I know that playing under this wonderful coaching staff has prepared me for my next adventures in life.”
While O’Brien and the rest of the team are motivated by winning and are looking to repeat as conference champions, it is far more important that every player shows great character off the court, as well. Hunt is a prime example of someone who can lead in a basketball game and also in other areas of life.
“Cam’s approach to life is smooth and unselfish,” O’Brien said. “It shows in his love and respect for the game of Moundbuilder basketball.”
The Moundbuilders have a lot to be proud of this season. While there are other things to look forward to now, this is a memory that will live within Hunt and the rest of the team forever.
“It has been an honor to be his head coach,” O’Brien said.
The Moundbuilders improved to 19-2 (14-2 KCAC) with wins Saturday at York (87-78) and Monday at Kansas Wesleyan (86-81).
Hunt was held scoreless for the first 10 minutes at York, but he turned it on ;ate in the first half, scoring 16 of his game-high 32 points to go with eight assists.
Junior Andrew Hamm finished with 19 points, while senior Brent Smith recorded another double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Hunt set the school record with a 30-point effort against the Coyotes.
Hunt, the reigning KCAC offensive player of the week, had his hands full going up against the defending KCAC defensive player of the week in Marquis Kraemer of Kansas Wesleyan. Kraemer had held Hunt to just 17 points in their first meeting, but Hunt was able to crack the code this time around, meeting his average on the season while adding seven assists.
Split for Lady Builders
The Lady Builders found themselves back in the win column Saturday afternoon with a 73-62 road victory at York.
Southwestern held the Lady Panthers to just 32-percent shooting overall, including 25 percent from behind the arc. The Lady Builders connected on 25 of 30 from the foul line.
Junior Jazmyne Laskey led all scorers with 18 points. Junior Marissa Evans added 16 points, going 8 of 9 from the line, while senior Brittany Lawler quietly had a productive game with a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double.
The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for the Lady Builders (4-18, 3-14 KCAC), but it was short-lived.
Southwestern fell 88-52 on Monday at Kansas Wesleyan.
The Lady Coyotes took control of the game from the outset, opening with a 15-2 advantage, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. KWU led 4-24 at halftime.
Sophomore Ashley Carrillo was held scoreless in the first half, but finished with 10 points on 5-of-99 shooting.
Lady Builders tops
The Southwestern College women’s tennis team received six first-place votes and was chosen as the No. 1 team in the KCAC Preseason Coaches Poll, the KCAC announced Tuesday.
The Lady Builders won the 2017-18 KCAC championship and return two All-KCAC selections in sophomores Esperanza Contador (first team) and Brailey McMinn (second team).
Southwestern also had a strong showing at the 2018 KCAC Fall Individual Championships in September, with sophomore Meghan Kindred (No. 3 singles) and freshman Jessica Coleman (No. 6 singles) winning their divisions.
The Lady Builders begin the 2019 season Feb. 8 at McMurry College. KCAC play begins March 20 at home against Tabor.