Calling it the ''best of both worlds,'' Jamestown High School senior basketball standout Tommy Campion has decided to continue his athletic and academic career at Hobart College in the fall.
''It's really a good school and I really like the group of guys on the team and the coach,'' he said. ''I think it's someplace I can do well.''
A four-year varsity player, the 5-foot-10 guard led the Red Raiders to their third Section 6 Class AA championship in four years, capping a career that places him among the best to ever don a JHS uniform. Along the way, Campion sits near the top in multiple statistical categories, including scoring where his 1,145 points is good for fifth on the school's all-time list.
''I think he'll be a great Division III player,'' Jamestown coach Ben Drake said. ''He has all the tools. He's very talented and he's a worker, a gym rat. He's only going to get better once he gets there.''
Campion, who averaged 21.2 points, 3.0 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game this season, will join a Hobart program that is coached by Mike Neer. Neer, a highly successful coach at the University of Rochester for years, just completed his second season at Hobart, guiding the Statesmen to a 21-7 record and a second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. During his tenure at Rochester, Neer set the career wins mark, and led the Yellowjackets to 12 NCAA tournament appearances, including four trips to the Final Four, three championship games and the 1990 national championship.
''(Neer) recruits a certain kind of player that fits his system and he's not going to recruit kids who he doesn't think can play as he expects,'' Drake said. ''For him to be excited about bringing Tommy to Hobart says a lot about Tommy's game.''
Drake has known about Neer's accomplishments for more than two decades. After graduating from SUNY Brockport in 1994, Drake spent a year as a volunteer assistant coach at Spencerport High School under Mike Blackwell, who had previously been an assistant for Neer at Rochester.
''Neer is an old-school coach,'' Drake said. ''(His teams) are just known as very fundamentally sound. They won't beat themselves, they play good defense and they're known for their triangle offense. I think Tommy will do well and fit into that system.''
Added Campion: ''From what I understand, (Hobart) is a lot like (JHS). They like to run, but they also have a lot of sets. They run a lot through their big men, but their guards have a lot of opportunity.''
Campion made the most of his opportunities during his tenure with the Red Raiders. The reigning Post-Journal Player of the Year, Campion was a second-team all-Western New York selection this season after being a third-team all-WNY choice and a seventh-team all-state pick after the 2011-12 campaign.
''Tommy is one of the most dedicated players that I've coached, just a true role model for the younger kids,'' Drake said. ''By college basketball standards, he has average athletic ability. He's not slow, but he didn't kill people with his athleticism. He just turned himself - through a lot of hours in the gym - into a very good player.''
Also an outstanding student, Campion plans to major in history and political science at Hobart.