Eli Campbell bound for WVU Tech

May 9—Eli Campbell is grateful.

A soon-to-be graduate of Midland Trail High School, Campbell made his post-secondary plans official on Monday, May 6. During a ceremony in the Flournoy Center gymnasium, Campbell signed to attend WVU Tech and play basketball for the Golden Bears.

"It's definitely very exciting," Campbell said. "It's a rush of adrenaline.

"It's such a blessing, and I can't be more thankful for it."

Campbell says he's ready to take a step up to the next level.

"I've definitely thought that the hard work that I've put in has really deserved something like this," he said. "But, it's really just the coaches giving me the opportunity to prove that I can play at that level that is most rewarding."

And, he said he's all-in to putting in the work to be successful in the collegiate game. "I'm just going to have to stay in the gym and get bigger. I'll have to work more this summer. I'm going to really have to get with my teammates a lot and work with them. They can show me a lot of what to do at the next level."

The 6-foot, 160-pound guard acknowledged what he feels is the strongest part of his game. "Definitely my IQ, I'd say," Campbell noted. "I'm good at being in the right place at the right time, and knowing what to do in that situation."

Where can he improve? "Probably just my size right now. I gotta get bigger."

The past few weeks haven't been the easiest, Campbell said. The day before he signed, some of his high school teammates joined the Campbell family in continuing their cleanup following the April 2 tornado that caused severe damage in Fayette County.

That storm has made life topsy-turvy for Campbell and the family, and he admits it's put an unwelcome spin on his senior year. "It's definitely been hard to deal with," Campbell said. "There's just been a lot going on.

"It's been very back and forth between losing the house and signing to play college ball. I've had a lot to handle."

What has helped him make it through? "Basketball, and being with friends and family. Just anything to take my mind off of that for a while before I have to go back to it and help."

Campbell plans to study business and economics at Tech. And, he feels he'll be a good study and make contributions to the basketball team, as well. "I believe I can" work into eventually starting at Tech, he said.

"The coaches (head coach George Wilmore and assistant coaches Payton Sturm and Corey Acord) are three people that I look to the most and are very guiding coaches that I think I can really work with and improve my game."

He says that, when he joins his classmates in graduating from Midland Trail later this month, he'll have fond memories. "Obviously, I would have liked a better ending to the season, but can't speak enough about the memories and the support that I've had from the team and this program and this community."

"He's been a three-year starter, a constant," said Curtis Miller, Trail's head basketball coach and athletic director. "Works hard and never complains.

"He's what you want in a program and a player. I'm gonna miss him."

While he was a prolific scorer, Miller says Campbell truly embodies the coach-on-the-floor mindset.

"He gets known a lot for all his shooting ability, but it was all the other stuff that he did that made him the great player he was," Miller said. "We're definitely going to miss that, and his leadership on and off the court."

A three-year starter, Campbell did not reach the 1,000-point career scoring plateau, but did average 16.5 points per game his senior season on his way to establishing a MTHS boys 3-point goal season record of 70.

"Believe it or not, his sophomore year I had to call timeouts and yell at him for not shooting," Miller explained. "He would not shoot the ball his sophomore year, and I used to yell at him all the time 'I'm gonna take you out for not shooting.'

"I think he finally figured it out, though, as the records and all the points show."

Miller feels Campbell will be valuable to the Golden Bears' lineup. "He has great IQ and court vision, and just doing the little things that coaches want him to do," he said. "Whatever he's asked of, he's going to do and he's going to do it to the best of his ability.

"He'll be an asset to that team. I can't wait to go over and watch him play."

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