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Posted On: 06/14/18 4:00 PM
For one fleeting moment at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, all eyes were pasted on a high lob pass on Court 1.
A skyward-bound Toumani Camara then levitated, snatched the ball with both hands, and crunched home a loud, extravagant two-handed dunk.
Camara's vertical explosion was as powerful as it was emphatic, jolting the crowd into a frenzy. Camara's freakish athleticism has been one of the most underrated components of his game. He tried to pull off a soaring one-handed dunk through traffic in the first half and was unsuccessful.
Then in the second half, he finally gave the crowd what was owed. He compiled a total of five dunks during his final game of the evening, revealing the type of bounce that Division-I coaches tend to prioritize.
Chaminade-Madonna's crafty 6-foot-7, 205-pound left-handed guard/forward has soared both figuratively and literally this off-season. His intriguing blend of length, defensive versatility, athleticism, shot creation, and all around scoring have molded him into a unique mid-major prospect.
The Class of 2019 prospect showed an innate feel for the game with a series of stepbacks and knack for carving out space and threading through traffic. More comfortable off the dribble and now utilizing his aerial game more than ever, Camara is readying himself for alpha dog status in 2018-19.
"I think it's clear that coach wants me to become more of a leader," said Camara, who grew up in Belgium and speaks French fluently.
"I think my versatility is a big factor in what I'm trying to bring. I can guard smaller guys, I can play defense on bigger guys. I always want to play the three, but I'm open to doing whatever it takes to produce a win."
St. Francis (Pa.), George Washington, Buffalo, Wofford, UT-Chattanooga, Florida International, Florida Atlantic University, FGCU, and Dayton are all vying for his services. Camara said he'd love to play at a program that would give him the freedom to play the wing, but he's wide open as far as his recruitment goes.
Dayton has been a consistent presence in his recruitment. The Flyers have tapped into the Florida market recently, heaping scholarship offers on Camara, West Oaks Academy guard Tyrell Jones, and 6-foot-7 Choctaw senior Diante Smith.
The buzz surrounding Camara increased rapidly at the tail end of the 2017-18 regular season. Camara, who averaged 21 points and 12 boards on the season, scored 32 points against a University School team featuring Vernon Carey Jr., Scottie Barnes, Drue Drinnon (New Mexico), and Trey Doomes (West Virginia).
"I was just feeling it all game (against U-School)," Camara said. "I knew a game like that, the competition would be crazy. I was hyped up and it was a really big stage for us."
Every game will present a big stage for Camara next season, as he emerges into the focal point and one of the Miami area's most proven, decorated recruits.
"Right now I'm just focusing on basketball and my role on (Chaminade)," he said. "I haven't taken any visits yet. I haven't scheduled anything yet. I haven't thought about where I'll end up. I just want to win and finish with a good senior year above all."
Photo credit: HoopSeen