Basketball teams have to go much deeper than their starting five to make runs in the postseason like Drury has done.
And thanks to sophomore Cameron Adams, also known as the “Energizer Bunny” or “Slam Cam”, Drury has one of the most dynamic bench players you will find.
“He is a freak athlete,” senior guard Alex Hall said. “He is just an energizer bunny. We all feed off of him. He brings so much energy to the court and gives us that bump that we need. When he gets those awesome dunks we all rise up with him. Our motivation level goes up tremendously.”
Those highlight-reel dunks have become must-see moments of any Drury game, especially when the team appears to need a shot in the arm in terms of enthusiasm.
“Dunks always seem to bring energy no matter what level it is,” Adams said. “Ever since I was able to dunk it seemed to be an energy boost for the team. The team would jump and you could see the fans jump.”
And jump they do.
Because when Adams does this:
The fans do this:
Adams sometimes is seen as overzealous with his dunks and has been called for several technical this year for hanging on the rim.
Adams contends it isn’t show-boating when he holds on to the rim, but more self-preservation.
“My coaches tell me not to hang on the rim when I dunk it, but for me I am running full speed straight down the court. When I dunk my arms are on the rim and my body is still going forward. If I let go, and I have done it before in high school, I straight back-plant,” Adams said. “Worse than that hurting, it is just embarrassing. Now when I dunk I wait until my body swings back so I can land on my feet. They want me to just dunk it and let it go. I’m just like, ‘Nah, I’m not going to back plant again.”
The dunks are not the only high-energy plays that Adams can provide.
“You add energy to athleticism then you have a chance to make some plays. He has made some plays with his ability to dunk the basketball, but more importantly he has the ability to make plays defensively,” Coach Steve Hesser said. “He can cover a lot of ground, he is an excellent helper off the ball and he gets his hands on a lot of stuff which allows us to get out in transition.”
Adams isn’t the only one bringing the crowd and bench to their feet with clutch plays either.
“It is not like those (dunks) are the only energy plays we have,” Adams said. “Alex making threes, B-Lock (Brandon Lockhart) making steals and Ian (Carter) blocking shots (also boost the team). Everything is an energy play.”
Hall has given the team a shot in the arm several key times this year with clutch threes.
In the semifinal game against Western Washington, the Vikings were making a run until Hall helped put a stop to it with this:
Which caused the bench to do this:
All of the highlight-reel dunks, steals, blocks and threes have helped propel the Panthers to the title game as each player has brought their own form of energy.
“Coach has been stressing this whole time during playoffs about players making plays,” Adams said. “When somebody individually does that it just picks up the whole team and we feed off that energy they just created.”
Drury fans will be waiting to rise to their feet in Atlanta as Adams streaks down the court each time looking for his chance at a SportsCenter Top 10 moment.
“All I am thinking is run the court full speed and if they throw anywhere near the rim then I can get it,” Adams said. “As you see it in the air, jump. From then on it is just up to the cameras to catch what happened.”
The Panthers will try to make more memorable plays in the National Championship at 3 p.m. on Sunday in Atlanta.