NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Camren Wynter is unflappable on the court as an emerging star for Drexel, he is impassive in talking about his swift progress and he was stoic Sunday night in receiving the CAA Rookie of the Year Award. It was a whole different look, though, when he was asked about the college basketball team in his hometown, Hempstead.
He could not hold back a big smile when the Hofstra Pride were mentioned. “I know a lot of those guys,” he said, with an expression that conjured lots of rivalries from summer ball.
“They’re having a great year, they have a great player. I happen to be really good friends with him,” Wynter, a former standout at Holy Trinity High School, said, referring to Justin Wright-Foreman, who has become one of Hofstra’s all-time greats.
“I’ve known him for a while, just playing basketball in New York. It goes way back,” the Drexel freshman said of the Pride’s senior. “I think his leadership has really gone up this year. He refuses to lose and I think that’s his best trait. He is rallying his troops and bringing them with him on his back.”
Wynter had a strong game against Hofstra in the last week of the season, with 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists to keep his injury depleted team close in an 80-77 loss. It helped him earn his fifth conference Rookie of the Week honor.
It validated his choice to spend a year at DME Academy in Florida, then deciding to go to Drexel. “I just trusted the coaching staff. I trusted coach [Zach] Spyker in that he would put me in position to be successful. And he has so far,” Wynter said late Sunday, after his team was eliminated by Charleston, 73-61.
He had another solid game (12 points, eight rebounds, six assists while guarding Charleston star Grant Riller) in the finale against a 24-8 team that was playing a de facto home game. Charleston used the crowd’s energy to jump to a 14-2 lead. “We didn’t get as many defensive stops as we needed to and we got off to a slow start, and that hurt us at the end,” he said. “We’ve just got to get off to better starts next year, because that was our thing this year.”
Wynter can take consolation in knowing he is ahead of his friend’s pace. Wright-Foreman barely played in his first year of college, as opposed to Wynter being named the conference’s top freshman. “I’m going to be just watching film, seeing what I can do better and working on that all offseason,” Wynter said. “Seeing spots where I can score, spots where I can find people, then just working at it.”
While some players prefer to be done with basketball once their season ends, Wynter will catch every remaining Hofstra game. “I’m a basketball guy. I’ll watch them play,” he said. “They’re doing good things over there.”