He is new to this neck of the woods, but Kamren Belin seems to be fitting in just fine. Belin, a transfer from the State of Georgia, was recently awarded the Horizon League Player of The Week Award for a second consecutive week. The versatile Belin has had a great inaugural campaign under Coach Jerry Slocum. I recently interviewed Belin about many things.
Paneech: You are in Georgia playing basketball, and someone approaches you about transferring to Youngstown State University. How did the recruiting work?
Belin: I had to go to a junior college because I didn’t have everything ready for college yet. I was already in touch with Youngstown State. I put in two years there to get up to speed, but was in touch with Coach Mike [Wernicki] throughout the process. I came for a visit to this campus after I visited Stephen F. Austin. There were three more colleges I was scheduled to visit, but I decided this was where I wanted to be.
Paneech: Your role has changed a lot throughout the season. You have started and have also been able to provide valuable minutes off of the bench. Do you have a set role?
Belin: My role seems to be getting bigger and bigger as each game goes by. I have tried to assume a leadership role without stepping on any toes. I think next year is going to be a very good year. I have gotten to be very good friends with Shawn Amiker but feel a closeness with everyone on the team.
Paneech: What are the differences between Youngstown and Georgia?
Belin: Here, I am much more independent. I am here by myself and feel like my decisions are my decisions. I don’t have to wait to hear what my mom has to say and I get to be more of an adult here. I was in Kansas for juco, but this is even more independent and different than that was.
Paneech: Coach Slocum gets animated sometimes. He stamps his feet and gets emotional when he doesn’t like a call. Damian Eargle can’t hold back from smiling when he sees some of it, how do you stop yourself?
Belin: It is kind of hard not to laugh. When it happens, I always happen to see Damian smiling in my line of view. We know as a team when to contain ourselves. It’s the same in practice sometimes, things just get taken a little more personal during games.
Paneech: What is the significance of the endless tattoos on your body?
Belin: All of my tattoos are in dedication to my family. My whole right arm is my grandmother and the women in my life, and my left arm is about my brothers. I got some new work done on my back in honor of the tragedy that took place in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. I don’t know what is next, I will probably get all of the shading done on my right arm.
Paneech: You keep busy with practices, games, and classes, but there is that time in between that you have. How do you spend that time?
Belin: My go to would be McDonalds. It is convenient now because they put one in Kilcawley Center. I usually get two McChicken sandwiches add cheese and bacon, a small fry, and a vanilla shake. I’m not a soda drinker, so after practice, I usually go for a light blue Gatorade.
Paneech: What has been your most memorable ‘on the court’ experience so far?
Belin: I would say that it really wasn’t anything that happened on the court during a game yet. So far, the most memorable thing would be boot camp. You wake up at 5 a.m., struggle to get over here, and then you flip tires and run cone drills. You sleep good at night.
Paneech: What kind of things can you focus on after a loss to get back on the winning track?
Belin: We need to handle pressure better. It seems like when we lose games that we have a lot of turnovers because of the opponent’s pressure defenses. Against Detroit, we lost by 41 the first game because we have not seen pressure like that. When we went there for the second meeting, we handled the pressure better, but not well enough to win.
Paneech: What is more impressive to you, that Damian Eargle now is the all-time blocks leader in the Horizon League, or that Kendrick Perry has a chance to be the Horizon League Player of The Year?
Belin: Both of those are impressive things to think about. I feel like if KP got the player of the year award that it would be something special not only for him, but for all of us as a team.
Paneech: What do you want to study and concentrate on while here academically?
Belin: My major is in Philosophy and my minor is in Sociology, but I might change that minor to creative writing. One of the things I really enjoy doing is writing poetry. Philosophy helps get me into that type of mindset. If I wasn’t in college, I would probably be trying to write, or I would be cooking somewhere to make a living.
Paneech: Have you been late for anything since you got here?
Belin: (laughs) Yeah. I was late for a team meal once. I did not get to start one game because of it. The coaches here are very good guys though. They break things down before we start practicing to make sure we understand the gameplan and they let us have fun but know when to draw the line.
Paneech: Does your family keep up with YSU hoops?
Belin: A bunch of family members came to the Georgia game. They came in for the two games last weekend (see picture above). They are very supportive and watch how we do.
Paneech: From the standpoint of a fan, you enjoy making a three point shot. You put three fingers up to your head. What is that all about?
Belin: It is something that one of my favorite players, Carmelo Anthony, does after he hits a three. So I just kind of took that from him and made it my own. Blake [Allen] already knows I am coming for his new three-point record.
One Word Answers
Biggest Phobia: Bugs.
Worst Habit: Dunkin’ Donuts.
Favorite Junk Food: Chips Ahoy Chewy.
Song On Your ipod That No One Would Guess: Over My Head by The Fray.
Favorite Sport Besides Basketball: Football – Tight End.
Favorite NBA Player: Rudy Gay.
Who Would Win March Madness if YSU Wasn’t In? Syracuse.
Who Will Exit Early? North Carolina, they are very overrated.
What Is The Worst Part of Practice: Full-court layup drills.