Teenager has bright hoops future

One wall of Phil Galvin’s courtside office on the sixth floor of the Olympic Club is covered with photos taken during visits to the venerable San Francisco athletic institution by former and current NBA legends.

The adjacent wall features photos of youth teams representing the OC during Galvin’s 17 years as basketball director.

Andre Campbell Jr. may some day grace both walls.

At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, the Presidio Hill School eighth-grader doesn’t yet have Dwight Howard’s shoulders, but the young man with the size-14 sneakers channels Superman as he dominates the paint at a recent OC Elite AAU Program practice.

Last spring, his first season with the AAU program, Campbell, a team-oriented player who doesn’t track his scoring or rebounding statistics, led the seventh-grade team to the West Coast Nationals in Las Vegas.

Down by a point with 0.5 seconds remaining in the first game of the tournament, Campbell screened out his opposing center, took the inbound pass and scored a bucket to win the game at the buzzer.

“He’s an extremely hard worker and is clearly one of the top eighth-graders in the state,” Galvin said. “Andre is going to make an immediate impact to whichever high school that he and his family choose to attend.”

The only child of Andre Campbell, a San Francisco General Hospital trauma surgeon, and Gillian Otway-Campbell, the hospital’s nursing recruiter, Campbell Jr. and his parents have until the spring to select a high school.

“My parents raised me right,” said Campbell Jr., whose favorite subject is math. “It’s education first, basketball second.”

He does readily admit, however, that playing in the NBA would pre-empt any nonbasketball career aspirations.

Campbell credits the game of chess for his ability to understand the various formations on the court: the fast, continuous transfer of the chess pieces and the basketball.

“The moves in chess, you have to be quick; in basketball you have to pass quick,” Campbell said.

Mom Gillian sits on the sidelines during practice, focused on learning the game that will continue to dominate the household as Campbell Jr. competes year-round.

She is also focused on the boy who spent his childhood years tagging along with mom and dad to the hospital; and, that he remain the humble, compassionate person who insists on donating his continuous supply of outgrown sneakers to The City’s homeless and disabled.

Campbell Jr. finds that his size — he expects to be at least 6-foot-7 — is useful off the court as well as on.

“I love being tall,” he said. “I can help my teacher by reaching for something off the top shelf.”



Olympic Club Elite AAU

SCHEDULE: Fall, spring, summer sessions available; practices are twice a week, with weekend games and tournaments

BOYS: Fourth grade to high school

GIRLS: Sixth grade to high school

TRADITION: OC Elite won over 350 games and 40 tournaments during the 2011 spring and summer seasons.

INFO: (415) 345-5205 or pgalvin@olyclub.com

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