With the graduation of key senior talent and leadership, the men’s basketball team needed some of its younger players to step up and fill the void this year in order to build on last year’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship.
Luckily for the Panthers, freshman guard Cam Haslam continues to light up the scoreboard night in and night out.
As of right now, he is averaging 20.8 points a game, which leads the conference in scoring and also makes Haslam the highest scoring freshman in the nation in all three NCAA divisions. This is without mentioning Haslam’s efficiency from the field, which is evident both by his 43.8 shooting percentage from the three-point line (third in conference) and 46.2 field goal percentage (12th in conference).
Despite Haslam’s absence on Monday against the University of La Verne due to injury, Chapman was able to grind out a win and solidify its position atop the conference standings.
- How long have you been playing basketball? Did you play any other sports growing up?
I also played baseball growing up and I have been playing basketball since the first grade.
- What made you choose to continue your career at Chapman after such a successful high school career?
I heard about Chapman from Brian Watson who is also on the basketball team and is also from the Seattle area, and our dads went to college together. Then, when I was in high school tournament in San Diego, the coach at Chapman came to watch and said I should come check out the school. After that, I visited campus and ended up falling in love with the school and really liked all that the academics have to offer.
- How have your teammates helped in your success in getting the team off to such a great start?
Even though we are a young team, we don’t lack any leadership and all of the guys on the team have been really helpful in getting me accustomed to college play and the hours it takes to get better. I definitely think we are more experienced than our years.
- What motivates you to play your hardest and keep improving day in and day out?
Right now, I am really just motivated to help the team and improve each and every day.
- Do you have any pregame rituals?
My main ritual is praying with four or five of the guys on the team before every game, but other than that, I just try to focus on getting my mind right.
- You were injured and not able to play in Monday’s game against La Verne. Do you have any updates?
I am still doing therapy and getting my hamstring ready, but I should be back for Saturday’s game and if not, I will definitely be 100 percent for the next game after that.
- What has the transition from playing in high school to playing in college been like? Has it been difficult to balance academics and a social life?
It’s actually been a lot easier than I thought it would, even though there are a lot of hours you have to put in to play a sport in college. I found the most difficult part has been adjusting to the physicality of play because I am now playing against bigger and more experienced guys. In terms of academics and social life, I have had plenty of chances to meet new people and experience all that college has to offer. I also think I am more motivated academically because I am studying what I want to study and I have been able to find the time to put in the work.
- What do you hope to be doing 15 years from now?
I just switched to an IES (integrated educational studies) major, so in terms of working, I would like to work with a nonprofit and maybe something like Relay For Life. I don’t know exactly what that would be like, but I think that’s what I eventually want to do. I would also like to move back to Seattle at some point.
- What are the team’s goals for the rest of the season?
Ultimately, it would be great to make it to the national tournament, but right now, we are really just focused on winning our next game and not looking too far ahead.