BRYANT, Ark. — The Bryant Hornets are the No. 5 team in the state for a good reason. They suffered their first loss of the season on Tuesday against No. 2 Central 67-64. Now the Hornets are (10-1) on the year led by senior guard Camren Hunter.
“This team has what my sophomore year team has, the year we went to the state championship,” Hunter said. “We had that type of bond and competitiveness. The will to win and we were all locked in.”
The first half of the season the University of Central Arkansas commit has averaged 22 points, 7.5 rebounds, four assists, and 2.5 steals a game. In the recent loss against the reining state champs, Hunter put up 27 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and four steals.
“He’s the best player in the state,” Bryant head coach Mike Abrahamson said. “Obviously I’m biased. But, I wouldn’t trade him for anyone.”
The Bryant lefty has played with and against the best players in the state. He’s played against former Razorback and current Philadelphia 76er Isaiah Joe, current Razorback Moses Moody when he was at North Little Rock, current Razorback and 2020 Arkansas Gatorade player of the Year Jaylin Williams in the 2018 state championship game, and he was teammates with current Hog KK Robinson at Bryant.
Camren has been a four year starter for the Hornets, but despite all of his success and the competition he’s been faced with, he’s only picked up two division one offers.
“I don’t put any thought into it really, I just play,” Hunter said. “Whatever comes will come. I’m just trusting God and taking it day by day.”
“He would have had many more offers if they had a quote-on-quote normal Spring and Summer with AAU last year, obviously that was all shut down,” Abrahamson said.
“UCA is getting an absolute steal. Having two offers and being committed to a non-power five school really doesn’t tell the story of Camren.”
Camren’s story starts in the seventh grade when he met coach Abrahamson for the first time.
“He helped me see life from a different perspective,” Hunter added. “Me coming up as a freshman I just thought it was all about basketball, all flash. He really opened my eyes to see how the game is played. On the court he’s like my dad because he helps me stay focused and lock in, all that.”
“It is so much fun to watch someone grow up,” Abrahamson said. “Camren’s like a family member to me. We started to get close his ninth grade year.”
But, like all relationships, Camren and coach went through their ups and downs.
“Families fight, argue, and go through rough times, but you don’t leave each other. We didn’t leave each other,” Abrahamson said. “I could’ve sent him packing a couple of times, probably, when he was younger. And he obviously could’ve chosen to leave like so many players transfer these days.”
“He never gave up on me off the court when I had my breakdowns and all that,” Hunter added. “He stuck with me and made me re-earn everything from the bottom. That’s really what helped me. He didn’t hand it over to me, everything I had to earn. I really appreciate him for that.”
Camren has always been a talented player, but he says he’s grown a lot since his freshman year.
“Freshman year was probably my hardest year,” Camren said. “I was slow, weak, just a ball handler that could shoot.”
“We had to play zone [defense] because he couldn’t help with man,” Abrahamson said jokingly. “We had to play zone. But, hahaha. He’s come a long way.”
Camren will finish up the 2021 season with Bryant before playing college ball just down the road for the UCA Bears.