CENTERBURG — As Centerburg High School basketball player Camaranne Myles wraps up her high school career, she took time out Wednesday to look back on her four years as a Trojan.
This was Myles’ most challenging year. Not only did she have a whole new set of young teammates to adjust to, she also had to play her senior year under a different system.
Coach Todd Nauman replaced Dan Stevens before the start of the season. Fortunately, Myles had an idea of what to expect, since they had teamed up before. Myles was a manager for Nauman a few years ago when she was in elementary school.
This was also the year she became the leader of the Trojan varsity.
“Coming into this season, Cam was our returning starter,” said Nauman. “She had the most experience. We only had three kids coming back who had even lettered and played last year. That put a lot of responsibility on her. It was a tough spot, with a new coach coming in and it was her senior year. You have to do things differently and you have to adjust. That’s tough for anybody.”
Fortunately for Nauman and the Trojans, Myles was ready.
“I was actually looking forward to this year,” said Myles. ”I expected what coach Nauman was expecting out of this team. Knowing that it was my senior year, I was going to listen to him and make the changes that he wanted. It wasn’t as hard as what I expected, but there were two different kinds of play from one coach to the other. I am more of a player that pushes myself and I know how coach Nauman coaches, so it makes me want to drive more. I just got used to him really easily.”
With a team full of youngsters and no one but herself to depend on, Myles had to take a crash course in taking charge.
“I knew going into this year that I was going to be put into a tough situation because I wasn’t going to have all of the [teammates] back that I had last year,” said Myles. ”Also, I didn’t know that coach Nauman was going to come back and coach this year until a month or two before the season started. Under coach Stevens, I felt like I was one of the leaders on the court, but I was not really put into a role on the team. I was just one of the players like everyone else.
“When coach Nauman came in, he talked to me, and he was expecting a lot out of me. It kind of surprised me. I didn’t really know how to act or how to become the leader that he wanted me to be because I wasn’t really put in that situation before. So, we talked and he led me to believe that I could be a leader. He really had confidence in me, so I worked at it and I couldn’t be any happier.”
Still, being the focal point on the team was a big switch for Myles.
“I wasn’t put in that situation in any of the previous years, but there is a big change, knowing that there is a leader and a captain on the team,” said Myles. “Knowing that the people I played with last year weren’t coming back, I just had to step up and be the leader that coach Nauman wanted me to be. We had people step up last year, but there wasn’t anyone saying, ‘OK, you are the one that needs to do this and step up to make it happen.’”
Myles took on the role and led her young Trojan teammates through their growing pains.
“Leadership, to me, is getting to know how other people on the team play,” said Myles. “Knowing that I was one of the ones that came back from playing varsity last year. I had to become one of the leaders and get to know everybody enough to know how they play, so we could all play together on the court and also become really close off the court and on the court.
With all of this responsibility, Myles has to make time to work on her own game.
“This year, we are really young,” said Myles. ”At practice, I do things to help my team and myself. I’ll go into practice about a half hour early sometimes. I’ll work on my individual moves. A lot of times at practice, I will get with one of the point guards and work on something. She’ll work on her moves, and then I’ll work on my moves. Pretty much on my own time, I’ll just stay in the gym and I’ll just shoot around. After that, I will go into the weight room and I will lift and work on my ability.”
Myles has blossomed into more of a complete player on both sides of the ball this season.
“Camaranne is just playing great basketball for us right now,” said Nauman. “She is comfortable in the role we’ve asked her to play. She has increased her abilities from just a shooter. Now she is averaging a couple of assists a game, five rebounds a game, and she has stepped up her defense. She has done everything that we’ve asked. What more can I ask?”
Myles would never have guessed she would have grown into the leader she has become. She enjoys having a greater stake in the team.
“The people, I play with now, I really didn’t know then,” said Myles. ”I was afraid to become a senior, because I was always friends with the upper classmen. Now that I am an upper classman, I really didn’t think that I would connect with the younger ones. I was really close to the seniors and juniors when I was really young. Now that I’m a senior, I am really close with everybody on the team. I couldn’t be any happier. This is my most favorite year of playing. I wouldn’t want to play with any other team or any other girls more than the team I am playing with now.”
Myles turns to her family for her support, and family members have always been there.
“My family takes me to AAU practices in Columbus and AAU games all around Ohio,” said Myles. ”They know what drive I have for basketball and they do pretty much anything for me at any time. My sisters drove me around when I was younger. The took me everywhere; I couldn’t be more thankful for everything that they did for me. My dad always talked to me, worked with me and gave me advice. I couldn’t be where I am without them.”
She also knows how fortunate she is to have a team to rally around her.
“I couldn’t be the person that I am now without the teammates that I have,” said Myles. ”I am really thankful for the people that I have played with. How I am playing is because of the people I am with and around everyday.”