Freshman point guard Bianca Camello patiently waits on the training table to get treatment. Headphones are in, blasting a mix of trap hip-hop and southern rap. Lil Baby and NBA Youngboy are a constant in her pre-game playlist.
A few hours before getting treatment she is in the gym getting up shots. She’s not in there just to fool around. She’s in a full sweat as she goes from wing to corner shooting game-like shots. Her rebounder doesn’t have to move much as most of her shots swish through the bottom of the net.
Right after her workout, she’s back in the gym with her teammates while they have their own shootaround and walkthrough in preparation for their game. Afterwards, she goes into her pre-game routine that she does before every game: Heat, roll, stretch, repeat.
Camello laces up her Nike Kyrie 4 “University Red” basketball sneakers on and heads to warm-ups feeling not only prepared but confident in her abilities.
Camello experienced life in the valley this season as the Hawks had many low points. They suffered another losing season, once losing as many as nine games in a row. Plus the freshman had to deal with nagging injuries, including inflammation and cartilage damage in her knees. She played through the pain and didn’t miss any games.
But there were some highs, too. She scored 49 points in just her second start. She was named first team All-Conference and averaged a conference high 23.4 points per game.
Her killer mindset and refusal to give up on the season is what propelled her to great heights. Camello’s support system from her siblings to her parents played a huge role in why she was successful this year.
The Oakland native made a name for herself in the California Community College circuit. And she’s coming back.
Next season she will be the star of Las Positas. She will be the leader, the heart of the team. And she is determined to use the experience from this season to lead the Hawks into better days.
As a freshman, Camello wasn’t expected to be a starter on the team, let alone the team’s leading scorer.
“When I talked to Coach Morgan before the season, he said that I could come in and be the sixth man off the bench. But once I got into the starting role, I knew I would stay there,” said Camello.
When pushed into the starting lineup, Camello flourished. In her second game as a starter, Camello scored 49 points in a win against Contra Costa.
During the season, Camello also had to deal with the threat of injury. She always wore a knee brace and iced her knees after every game to ensure she would stay healthy throughout the season.
Camello tore her meniscus in her left knee during her sophomore year of high school, causing her to miss two years of her high school playing career. But a bounce back senior year earned her a spot on the Hawks team. She hadn’t played a full season of ball in over two years and was eager to step on the court this season to prove that she is one of the best players in the Bay Area.
The Hawks season was a struggle, but in many ways, Camello was able to keep the team afloat. On top of being the team’s main source of offense, she was also causing havoc on the defensive ends where she averages two steals a game and is charged with guarding the other team’s best guard.
Camello had a lot on her plate, but she never backed down from the challenge. In fact, she embraced it by playing better as the season went along.
“As the season approached, I knew we had to play tougher teams when conference play came around. In order for us to compete, I had to score more and do more,” said Camello.
The freshman point guard doesn’t like losing, but knew this season would be all about learning. One of her biggest supporters is her father, who is present at almost every one of Camello’s games. He has told her throughout the season to keep working hard and to take this season as a learning experience.
Her father taught her at an early age that hard work would be the key to being successful not only in the court, but in life.
“My dad always told me ever since I was little ‘work hard, play hard’. And that goes with anything, school, basketball you have to ‘work hard, play hard,’” said Camello.
Camello learned a lot about her game and how to lead a team this season. Though she knows that she is the driving force of the team, she also recognizes that she has holes in her game that she must fix such as her ball handling and becoming a smarter basketball player.
Camello is soaking in this year and is planning to learn from her mistakes so that she is better for next season. The competitor in her hates losing, but she never gave up this season. She was not only consistent in her play, but in her work ethic. She brought the competitive spirit with her to practice and games everyday and it showed on the court.
Camello has high expectations for herself and for the team. She expects to be winning more often next year but also wants to set herself up to go to a four year university to continue her basketball career. With her strong work ethic and love for the game, she hopes to turn the women’s basketball program around, and get the team on a winning track.
Nathan Canilao is the sports editor of The Express. Follow him @nathancanilao.