AUGUSTA — Is Waynflete junior Dominick Campbell the best player in the Class C South boys basketball tournament?

Maybe. He’s in the conversation, at least. What is not disputable is the 6-foot-8, 257-pound Campbell is the most intimidating player in the tournament.

In Monday’s 55-29 regional quarterfinal win over Traip Academy, Campbell scored a quiet 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked a shot. His last basket of the game was a one-handed dunk with just over five minutes to play.

How good has Campbell been this season for Waynflete? Listen to Flyers coach Rich Henry describe that dunk a majority of high school players wouldn’t dare attempt.

“He had kind of a weak dunk, but it was still a dunk,” Henry said.

Campbell gives the Flyers the size they’ll need to compete with top seed and defending state champion Winthrop. Campbell is big, and now that he’s made a commitment to fitness, he’s more than a big body planted in the low post.

Last spring, Campbell stepped on the scale and was embarrassed by the number he saw. He weighed 297 pounds, and it didn’t take calculus for Campbell to round that up to an even 300 pounds.

“I was like, I can’t. I can’t get to 300 pounds,” Campbell said.

He got to work, hitting the gym every day. Eating healthier foods. Campbell dropped 40 pounds, and now is learning how to use his new body to dominate basketball games.

“Now he’s not getting those fatigue fouls. He’s able to stay in the game longer. I think he’s elevating better,” Henry said.

Waynflete junior Dominick Campbell goes up strong to the basket over Traip Academy defenders during a Class C South quarterfinal game Monday at the Augusta Civic Center. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

Campbell is the type of player who doesn’t need to fill the box score to dominate. In Monday’s game, Traip rarely tried to attack the basket.

Even if he didn’t block a shot, Campbell was changing it. Late in the third quarter, while the Flyers were holding the Rangers to two points in the quarter, Traip’s Burke Downs took an elbow jumper. With Campbell closing out on defense, Downs was forced to bring the ball behind his head and put more arc on the shot, which didn’t come close to finding the net.

“I definitely improved my vertical, my jumping ability. Being able to get up and down the court, that’s definitely helped me a lot,” Campbell said. “They were putting a lot of pressure on me in the post, which they’ve done the last two games. It’s always hard to beat a team three times in a row. We came into this game knowing it was going to be difficult.”

As pregame warmups wound down, most of Campbell’s teammates loitered under the rim like birds at a feeder, waiting for basketball scraps. Campbell worked his way around the perimeter, taking and making long 3-pointers.

A big man with deep range is a special thing on the basketball court, and is sure to draw attention from college coaches. Messalonskee High grad Nick Mayo closed his college career as Eastern Kentucky University’s all-time leading scorer in part because he made the 3-pointer a dangerous weapon in his arsenal. Campbell is looking to do the same. In Monday’s game, Campbell took one 3-pointer, but missed.

“I’ve been working on my three, but I was just trying to get my points inside. Sometimes I’ll step out,” he said.

On the underside of his left forearm, Campbell has a word tattooed: Patientia. It’s Latin for patience, and to Campbell, it’s an important reminder.

“I just feel like patience has been a really big part of my life. Being patient about basketball and life,” Campbell said. “I feel like it’s something I need to remember at times. Be patient and not rush anything.”

Campbell said he has offers to play Division I college basketball from a few schools, including Central Connecticut, McNeese State and Boston University. As Campbell continues to adjust to the new things he can do on the basketball court, more offers will come.

First, he has a senior year to play and a tournament this week. Patientia. If Campbell continues to work, it will come.

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