The Torch

Living His Dream

Basketball is King for Camus in Queens

Torch Photo/Spencer Clinton

Torch Photo/Spencer Clinton

Nick McCreven, Staff Writer

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Watching sports as a child allows you to develop a special bond with a team, city and community. You have someone to look up to and something to inspire you, even into your adulthood. Sports bring people together as a community and allows them to feel connected to the city that the team represents. For a Queens native like current player Jay Camus, that team was the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team.

Camus was born and raised in “The World’s Borough” and regularly attended Johnnies’ basketball games. After years of admiring the team from the stands, Camus now finds himself on the floor as a part of the team he rooted for during his childhood.

“It’s an incredible honor to be on this team. I grew up loving this team,” he said.

Camus began his high school basketball career at Archbishop Molloy High School, a five minute ride down Union Turnpike from St. John’s. He helped lead the Stanners to a 2013 CHSAA J.V. City Championship his sophomore year. He played AAU with Crown Basketball, proving he was continuously working to make improvements to his game.

He then attended Manhattan College, a Division I school in the Bronx, playing in the MAAC conference alongside other mid-major Northeast schools like Quinnipiac, Fairfield, Monmouth and Iona. He walked onto the roster as a freshman and made an appearance in a game against St. Mary’s.

After transferring schools, Camus attended the St. John’s basketball team’s open tryouts and secured a roster spot in his junior year, along with former high school teammate Justin Cole.

Camus, now living his childhood dream of playing for New York’s team, says that he feels he is treated equally to his recruited counterparts like Shamorie Ponds and Mustapha Heron.

“It’s the same for me as everyone else here. They treat the walk-ons the same as the scholarship players. I have to lift. I got practice. I got class,” he said.

If it were not enough that his hard work brought him to a Big East roster, he also gets to play under the coaching of legendary St. John’s alumnus Chris Mullin, top 50 all-time NBA scorer Mitch Richmond and Assistant Coach Greg St. Jean. “It’s great. I play under two Hall-of-Famers and highly touted Assistant Coach St. Jean. So I learn a lot,” he said.

Camus ultimately wants to savor the moment entering his senior year. He aspires to be an entrepreneur after college and is currently majoring in business management. These will likely be his final days of organized basketball, at least in the form of which he is accustomed to.

Camus wants to do everything he can to bring his team to its full potential this season. “I try to push these guys everyday in practice. I do everything I gotta do. This is it,” he said.

No matter what happens, Camus is playing the sport he loves in the uniform he grew up watching, which is all he said he can ask for, “If I could play basketball anywhere in the country, I would still pick St. John’s.”

 

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