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Eagles soaring to the next level

Campbell inks hoops scholarship with UC Santa Barbara, following mentor Johnson
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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LOOMIS — As a wide-eyed freshman three years ago, Madeline Campbell could only dream of following in the footsteps of Del Oro High basketball star Emilie Johnson. She got the thrill of playing with Del Oro’s all-time leading scorer that season when Campbell was called up to the varsity team from the JV for the postseason. She may get the chance to be on the court with her mentor again after fulfilling another dream on Monday. Campbell signed a letter of intent to accept a basketball scholarship to UC Santa Barbara, where Johnson is the starting point guard as a junior. “My dad is a UCSB alum, so I’ve always known the name and when I was a freshman I went there with Emilie and she showed me around,” Campbell said. “It was always a dream for me to go there, but I didn’t think it was really possible.” The 5-11 shooting guard signed her letter of intent alongside Belle Obert, who is headed across the country to Butler University, where she will play volleyball. Obert is also a star forward on what promises to be one of the best Del Oro basketball teams ever this season. Campbell caught the eye of UCSB coaches last summer at a team camp on the Santa Barbara campus. The Gauchos’ coaching staff followed her progress with the Just Believe Sports AAU team throughout the summer. That’s when Campbell realized her once far-fetched dream could become a reality. “They started showing up to my AAU games and that’s when I thought it could actually happen,” Campbell said. While she closed the deal with a stellar AAU season, Campbell was outstanding for the Golden Eagles last year. She averaged 17 points, 3 assists and 5 rebounds and nearly 2 steals per game. She shot 48 percent from the field, including 37 percent from 3-point land. Already a deadly 3-point shooter, Campbell said she focused on making her game more multi-dimensional over the spring and summer. Her passing has come a long way, though Campbell realizes she’ll always be known as a sharpshooter. Away from the court, Campbell is pretty sharp too. She has a 4.23 GPA and she’s the senior class president at Del Oro. “Student leadership is my only real hobby besides school and basketball,” she said. “Our goal is basically to unite the class and make our senior year as fun as possible.” Del Oro fans are sure to enjoy the 2010-11 season. The team brings back its top six scorers from last year, when the Golden Eagles made it to the second round of the CIF Northern California playoffs and finished 26-6 overall. “We have everything you could ask for as a team,” Campbell said. “We went to NorCals last year and we just want to go farther now. We want to have a long season.”