Halifax County High School basketball player Kameron Roberts turned a lot of heads in his freshman campaign on the team.
Roberts helped lead his team to a second regional championship in as many years and to the state basketball tournament for the second year in a row. He was a first team All-Piedmont District selection and also a second team All-Region selection after his freshman season.
When Roberts’ season ended, the phone calls started. Roberts and is parents started to feel that his basketball career had taken a big turn.
Each day it seemed another coach from different travel teams or AAU teams were calling inquiring about Roberts joining. Then prep schools began calling wanting him to come finish his high school career with them. For Roberts it was exciting. For his mother, Dawn, and his father, George, it was something that they had to figure out how to handle.
“I was having so many coaches call me from different places, and it was a little overwhelming at first, and I had to put a balance on it,” said Dawn. “I am very prayerful about all things concerning myself, Kameron and my family, I am very protective and so when I get those calls sometimes it does get a little overwhelming so I tell each coach that calls me that I am going to pray about it and then I will give you my answer,” she added.
One of those teams inquiring about Roberts was the Garner Road Basketball Club out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Coaches for the 15U team that Roberts would be playing for had heard about Roberts from a member of the staff who’s from Danville. He told the staff how he had watched Robert’s throughout his freshman year and thought he would be a good fit for the team.
Garner Road’s 15U coaches, head coach Stan Davis and assistant coach Willie Gaskins, were sold on Roberts through some scouting and word of mouth and decided to add him to their team. Without being able to make it to the tryouts, Roberts was still added to the roster for this season, but then the work began.
Garner Road is an ADIDAS sponsored team that plays in the 3 Stripes Select Basketball circuit but with COVID-19 canceling the circuit and gauntlet, Garner Road has to play in tournaments that they normally wouldn’t play this summer.
The decision to join the Garner Road team was one that Dawn didn’t take lightly. “One of the things that I wanted to know was what was it that they were wanting from Kameron because so many coaches would call, and they were telling me all about their program, and they told me all of the good things about their program, and I am one of those parents that is not moved easily so you can tell me all of the good things, but tell me about some of the downfalls of your program that you are working to make better and what my son can benefit from and I will be praying about it,” she said.
Dawn knew that something was different with Garner Road and the coaches when they were able to show that basketball, while important, was not the only thing that Roberts would benefit from if he joined their team. Davis told her they were there to help with Roberts’ grades and that if he ever needed help in any area they had tutoring available to help keep his grades up.
Along with the tutoring and watching the grades, Dawn liked the fact that they could help improve Roberts’ skills while he can remain in Halifax.
“Even though here in Halifax he is a name, there is still more that he can learn and to be able to learn those things and remain in Halifax County but still have the opportunity as if he were in a larger city that was important to me as well,” Dawn said. “He wasn’t bringing Kameron in to be the man, but to build on that talent that he has and to bring in more opportunities and bring in scouts,” she added.
The decision was made for Roberts to join the Garner Road 15U team, because as a family the Roberts felt that Garner Road wasn’t just about basketball, it was about life lessons. Dawn felt that they saw Roberts as a whole and not just as a basketball player.
So far this summer, Roberts has played in two tournaments as a member of the Garner Road Bulldogs 15U team, and while there is a big learning curve joining a team of this caliber, he has done his best to show that he is prepared to play there.
With COVID-19 shutting down gyms, camps and practices for months, the first thing Roberts had to do when joining the team was get back into basketball shape. Gaskins said he has gotten Roberts in touch with some of the trainers associated with Garner Road and some nutritionists as well to give him tips. Dawn also has noticed a change that came when Roberts realized he needed to get back in shape. He started working out more and began a diet.
Being a part of the Garner Road team will give Roberts the opportunity to go as far as he wants to go, as long as he puts in the work. Putting in the work was emphasized by both of his coaches and his mother as the key to making sure this benefitted him to the fullest.
“He is in a great situation for him to achieve whatever he wants to achieve through basketball, get to whatever level he wants to go to, but it is all up to him. We will do our job to reach out to whatever schools he may be interested in or that are interested in him and get him out there to coaches,” Gaskins said.
Roberts didn’t join the team until the week before their first tournament of the summer, the Big Shots Myrtle Beach on July 11-12. In his first game action since the state quarterfinals back in March, Roberts scored 17 points and earned MVP honors in the teams second game of the weekend. Roberts said being able to have that performance in only his second game felt good. “I had not played basketball in so long so I just had to get back into the swing of things,” Roberts said.
The talent level that Roberts faces in each tournament is high. Each tournament there are several players who earn Division 1 offers during these tournaments. A lot of these players have been playing in these tournaments and showcases for years as well. That may put Roberts behind the others in that aspect that he is still learning to adjust to the format and the talent.
“It just goes to show me that I am going to be challenged playing with good people,” Roberts said. “It is challenging and makes you a better basketball player as well,” he added.
Davis also noted that being able to have the performance he had in Myrtle Beach was big for him.
“He is working and getting better, and he was able to win MVP in that game and that put him on some folks radar that maybe had not heard about him,” Davis said.
But Davis knows that there is work to be done. He says a lot of times kids get a false idea of their playing ability by playing against kids who are not as good as them and that playing in these tournaments can help them.
“For as well as he has done in his area, he is just a regular guy on this team. He isn’t a standout on this team but we see the talent, and we see the upside, so by the time these guys are 17 including Kameron, for us that is the finished product, that is what we are working towards and everything else before that is just building up to that,” Davis added.
This past weekend Garner Road went to Rock Hill, South Carolina, to play in the Phenom Hoops Queen City Showcase. The talent level was even higher in Rock Hill. Garner Road went undefeated in Myrtle Beach, but in Rock Hill they were only able to go 1-3. Roberts had a solid weekend, getting plenty of playing time against those elite players and in his third game of the weekend he was able to score 4 points and grabbed nine rebounds. The size and strength of the players on the court was much more than most of what Roberts saw in his freshman year at Halifax, but both Roberts and Gaskins know that what he is able to learn on the court this summer he will be able to take back to Halifax in the fall.
“I am just going to learn and bring it back to Halifax and use it during the season,” Roberts said. Gaskins echoed that statement. “When he goes back to his hometown he can take little traits from these elite guys and what he has learned and bring it back.”
Roberts is a quiet, humble kid who lets his play on the court speak for itself. But when joining a new team as the only player from Virginia with a lot of players that have been together for a while, Roberts has to learn that system as well. He has to learn how they operate and learn what to expect from each player and those players need to learn how Roberts is and that takes time.
Gaskins noticed as the first weekend in Myrtle Beach went on that Roberts slowly but surely started becoming himself around his new teammates. He also noted that drawing that chemistry with the players got him playing the way he should be playing on the court.
Roberts’ mother Dawn attended those first two tournaments this summer and noticed something as the weekend went on.
“I watched and I paid attention to a lot of things because Kameron hadn’t played basketball in quite a while and the encouragement the coach gave and the level of communication he gave after winning the MVP it was very impressive,” she said.
Prep school was another decision that had to be made for Roberts and his family. After his basketball season ended at Halifax, Dawn said the prep schools also started calling along with the other travel teams. Dawn took her time and prayed a lot to make sure that they made the right decision as a family for Roberts when it came to prep schools.
“With all the prep schools that were calling him after basketball season and after we prayed about it some we sat down and talked and said to him ‘lets revisit this in a year, let’s see what happens your tenth grade year and then we will revisit this area of your life because we have to look at your maturity level and if you are ready,” Dawn said. “The coaches are looking at your talent and I’m looking at whether you can handle this at this age and if you are ready for such a change at this age,” So as a family they made the decision for Roberts to return to Halifax after this summer with Garner Road and play at least one more season for the Comets.
Roberts is still getting plenty of exposure not only playing for Garner Road, but when he returns for his sophomore season at Halifax. “We try and give the kids the best opportunity for the kids to play in front of college coaches and against very good competition so they can really get a good idea of where they are,” Davis said.
As Roberts continues to improve throughout the summer with the various aspects of his game and also his diet and workout regiment, his mother knows that with their faith in God, and hard work, his dreams will become a reality.
“I always tell Kameron that no matter what he does in life keep God first and the sky is the limit, and I try to instill those things in him. I pray that he continues the path that he is on and that everything that he desires will come to him.”