Highland’s Campen follows in mother’s footsteps, brings versatility to Muddy River Showcase

Brady Campen (2)

Brady Campen displayed his versatility while playing every position last winter for the Highland boys basketball team. | Shane Hulsey photo

LEWISTOWN, Mo. — Brady Campen couldn’t recall the age he began playing basketball.

“My mom got me started really young,” Campen said.

Not a bad person to learn from.

Campen’s mother — Amber Law Campen — starred at Carthage (Ill.) High School, where she averaged 18.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 steals and was a runner-up for Illinois Ms. Basketball in 1993. That season, she also represented Illinois in the McDonald’s/Herald-Whig Classic, making her son a second-generation all-star.

Campen, a recent Highland High School graduate, will represent Missouri in Saturday’s Muddy River Showcase at John Wood Community College’s Student Activity Center.

“It’s really exciting,” Brady said. “I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

Like his mother, Brady showcases a high level of versatility and excels on the defensive end.

“Being able to be versatile and play different positions the last few years has allowed me see what I’m really able to do.” Campen said.

Not only can the 6-foot-5 Campen block shots and throw down monstrous dunks, he can also play point guard.

“I like bringing the ball up the floor, but I’ve always played down low,” Campen said. “I’m just a playmaker. I can play wherever they put me.”

Campen’s versatility extends beyond the basketball court. He played offense, defense and special teams each of the last two seasons for the Highland football team.

“Receiver, punter, corner, I played just about every position,” Campen said.

The physicality of football helped Campen transition seamlessly to basketball.

“Football definitely keeps you in shape,” Campen said. “In football, you’re lifting a lot more and it makes you stronger. Then you use that to help your game in basketball.”

All that weightlifting and strength training comes in handy when bruising with tough post players.

“You have to be a lot stronger to play down low,” Campen said. “You get beat up down there.”

Campen didn’t get beat up enough to keep from earning all-district and second-team All-Clarence Cannon Conference honors. 

First-year Highland coach Whitney Edmondson marveled at Campen’s athletic ability.

“He can get the ball up the floor without any help,” Edmondson said. “He drives the ball especially well from the wing. He can really get up there. It’s fun to watch him dunk.”

Edmondson said the team needed a Swiss Army knife like Campen on a team that — with starting point guard Brayden Logsdon missing the entire season with a torn meniscus — had no starters and virtually no varsity experience returning from the previous season.

“We had to figure out who was going to step up, who was going to develop,” Edmondson said. “Coming into this, I knew that we were going to be building a team. It was nice to see people like Campen take that role and be like, ‘OK, I’m going to help them build this program and help teach the younger ones.’”

Edmondson saw a leader develop before her eyes.

“He really had to help those guys, especially our freshmen, learn their roles and learn how to play at the varsity pace,” Edmondson said. “Going from eighth grade to varsity is a huge jump. He was a leader and helped them learn the play, the skills, and the mindset it takes to be on varsity.”

Campen will put those skills on display one more time on Saturday.

“We’re just there to showcase our talents and have some fun,” Campen said.

Just like his mom did 31 years ago.

Tickets for the Muddy River Showcase are $10
with all seats general admission and all sales at the door.

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