Playing basketball overseas isn’t for everyone. It takes commitment, sacrifice, and hard work, but Eugene Campbell III is just getting started and proving that he belongs.
Campbell III attended Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey, after receiving no interest out of high school. He knew that to get to the next level, he would have to start at the bottom.
The New Jersey native was a late bloomer. As a freshman, he was 5’10” and was growing into his body while developing his skillset. Campbell III worked his way into the starting lineup as a sophomore and was an all-conference player, leading his team in scoring.
“My sophomore year, I started taking basketball more seriously. I knew I had to get to a four-year school,” said Campbell III.
Despite an offer to play Division II basketball, Campbell III transferred to New Jersey City University, a Division III school close to home, but playing basketball was not guaranteed.
“I had to earn my spot on the team through tryouts and open runs. The coach had already recruited his team, and he had his guards. I worked on my game every day for hours and focused on my academics,” Campbell III claimed.
He would earn a spot on the team, but it was a challenge. As a junior, he was one of the youngest on the team and played a limited role off the bench. Campbell averaged 1.1 points in 4.3 minutes per game in 2016-2017, but he had heart and focused on getting better.
By his senior season, Campbell III was 6’2″ and played a more significant role in the team’s rotation. New Jersey City pressed and played uptempo rotating guards in and out of the game.
His collegiate career helped prepare him to play professionally. Middlesex County College asked him to be a scorer and New Jersey City defense. Campbell III put those together to play at the next level.
Graduate Assistant at New Jersey City
After graduating, the dream of playing professional basketball was on his mind, but so was pursuing his education. Campbell III became a graduate assistant, which paid for his master’s degree.
“I learned the game from a coaching perspective. It is different from when you’re playing the game. I learned a lot on the sidelines and about coaching. I was playing in men’s leagues and was working with a trainer,” Campbell III said.
He was able to practice with the team when they didn’t have enough players and was learning more about the game of basketball in his two years as a graduate assistant.
Campbell III played a season in the ABA, a semi-professional basketball league, and returned to his scoring ways. He trained with multiple trainers and received a tryout to The Basketball League (TBL), a minor league basketball organization.
The guard thought he would play in the TBL but received a contract to play in Moldova. Campbell III averaged 39.5 points per game in eight games and led the league in steals.
This past season, he signed to play in Armenia. In 13 games, Campbell III averaged 21.0 points and 8.2 rebounds. Then, he decided to leave and play in Portugal.
Playing in Portugal was an excellent experience for Campbell. The people were friendly, and the country was beautiful, according to the guard. Campbell III finished playing in the CN1 League in Portugal, averaging 21.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists.
Campbell III is back home, giving back to his community and inspiring others to stay true to themselves through his brand, Different. He has basketball tournaments for children and helps get high school kids to get exposure, something he didn’t have at their age.
After being overlooked early in his career, Campbell III never gave up. He continues to prove people wrong every time he steps on that court.
The 26-year-old will play in Bosnia this upcoming season after weighing his options.
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