Camille Murphy simply loves basketball. Growing up in a house full of boys who loved sports, she was constantly living and breathing the game at a young age.
As she grew up, Camille would watch the likes of Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury in her home state of New York, as they’d eventually become NBA superstars. With guidance from the likes of Jamie Grimshaw (assistant varsity basketball coach at Corcoran High School), Doc Gallivan (AAU coach), Andy Landers (head coach at the University of Georgia), and, most importantly, her father, Camille would soon make a name for herself in the competitive New York basketball scene, earning a 3rd team All-America selection during her senior year at Corcoran High, reaching the Final Four as a freshman at Georgia University, and playing in the WNBA from 2004-2008. Since then, Camille has stayed involved with the game through coaching, helping out at several youth camps and training programs, working as an assistant at Morrisville State College and Susquehanna University, and currently serving as head coach of Green Mountain College’s women’s basketball team.
For Camille, the path towards basketball success took hard work, practice, and repetition, “My dad said, if you really want to get good, you want to shoot a thousand shots a day, you want to work on your ball-handling, and you want to work on being able to shoot off the dribble.” Combined with a weight training class, Camille was relentless with her preparation, dedicating entire summers towards broadening her skill set and becoming a better all-around player. Naturally, as a teenager, Camille would try to get friends to join her in these grueling summer workouts. While some, including AAU teammate (and current assistant coach at Cornell University) Val Klopfer, kept up with her training regimen, Camille would learn early that her work ethic was special, as she saw that most of her friends were more interested going to the mall than going to the gym, “As we got deeper into the summer, they would rather go to the mall and hangout with friends. It kind of went from two or three of them, to one, to just me again.” “A thousand shots a day” has become a mantra for Camille as she’s transitioned from player to coach, reminding her players of what it takes to play at the highest level.
While her unrivaled physical preparation certainly attributes to her success, it’s Camille’s mental preparation that helped her mature as a basketball player. Perhaps the biggest mental obstacle Camille ever had to face in her career came after her junior year at Georgia. After tearing her ACL and having to sit out the second half of her junior year, Camille watched as some of Georgia’s premiere players finished off their college careers. In that graduating class were star guards (and twin sisters) Kelly and Coco Miller, leaving a void at the point guard position for the Lady Bulldogs.
Although officially listed at point guard in high school, Camille had, what she called, an “Allen Iverson mentality”, “[My high school coach] told me, ‘You can shoot first, you can shoot second, and if there’s an open teammate, you can hit that teammate.’” Given that style of play, Camille was recruited mostly as a shooting guard coming out of high school, and served as a formidable scorer for the Lady Bulldogs during her first two and a half seasons. That was all about to change, as Coach Landers, with no better option at point guard, looked for Camille to serve as playmaker during her senior season.
Transitioning from shooting guard to point guard is not as much physical as it is mental. As point guard, you are basically an extension of the coach on the floor; if anything goes wrong on a play, the blame falls directly on you. To prepare herself for this increased on-court responsibility, Camille became a student of the game, “I just reverted back to how I first learned how to play: watching film.” With the help of guard coach (and current head coach at Prince Athens Academy) Katie Gilbert, Camille learned how to effectively watch film and read scouting reports, learning how to quickly identify the information her and her teammates needed to know.
Camille thrived in her senior season, finishing with a career-high 115 assists in 23 games, watching the young and inexperienced Lady Bulldogs grow and mature. But, perhaps more importantly, Camille’s transition to point guard helped her beyond the stat sheet, and beyond her playing career, “[Transitioning from shooting guard to point guard] definitely helped me a lot being a coach. When I do player development and I train players, I can watch a kid play and say, ‘you’re a shooting guard; you’re a wing player; you’re a point guard; you’re a back-to-the-basket player; you’re a face-up post player’. It made me more aware of what kids can do. When I recruit now, it helps me out a lot.” Because of her playing experience at point guard, Camille is well aware of the importance of the cerebral part of the game, and instills that knowledge into her coaching philosophy at Green Mountain College, “When I’m teaching them, I teach them in a way where I teach them ‘why’, and then I show them along the way.”
Overall, Camille’s wealth of basketball experience is a huge reason why she’s such a great coach. Beyond what she learned as a player, her exposure to great basketball coaching has been extremely beneficial for her own coaching career. Even today, she finds herself adopting the strategies of some of her previous coaches, Coach Landers included, “For me, I just try to keep it simple. There’s nothing fancy that Coach Landers does.”
And that’s what it’s all about for Camille, simple and plain. Like shooting 1,000 shots a day.