by Zach DiSchiano, publisher
A lot of basketball players pick up a ball around the age of three – tossing it around the living room, dunking it on Fisher-Price goals – just typical recreational activities for a toddler.
When Kameron McGusty was three, he was playing competitively against kids two years older than he was.
“My mom and my dad talked to the YMCA people and begged them if I could play – the lowest age group was five,” the 6’5 combo guard from Katy, TX, said. “I was playing with them and I was competing, so they let me in.”
Whether it was his early jump on the competition or his tireless work ethic, McGusty has blossomed into an elite basketball talent. Last season, he averaged 20 points per game as a junior and earned the title of Offensive Player of the Year in Class 19-6A.
His style of play, McGusty says, is comparable to Texas Longhorn great and NBA MVP Kevin Durant.
“Everything I do is nice and smooth,” he said. “I get to the basket, find teammates, lead my teammates, set them up in positions for success, play defense. Someone’s going to have trouble guarding somebody, you know, I’ll hold him, try to contain him. Just making everything easier for my team offensively and defensively.”
But even with his extensive skill set, McGusty has yet to climb into the rankings of the nation’s elite, something he said will change soon.
“Personally, of course I think I’m better than that,” he said. “I really don’t pay attention to rankings so I honestly don’t really know where I am, but me, personally, I think I’m top five in the state.”
McGusty is ranked amongst the top-25 in the state on every major recruiting site, which is already an accomplishment in such a large state filled with talent. A good portion of collegiate basketball players come from major cities on each coast, but the south has made a substantial improvement in overall basketball quality during the past decade or so.
The level of basketball played in public school, McGusty said, is just as high as anywhere else in the nation.
“Everybody looks at Texas to be a football state,” he said. “But basketball-wise, it’s one of the best states to play public school basketball. All these schools on the east coast and west coast, they have all these prep schools. Their public school basketball isn’t good. A lot of players that come from Texas are always doing public schools because the competition is just as good and there’s a lot of great players.”
Playing against such difficult opponents during the season is undoubtedly a big factor in McGusty’s development, but in the summers, the competition really heats up.
McGusty plays for the Houston Defenders, a member of the Under Armour circuit, where he plays the top select basketball teams from around the country. The junior guard leads the nation in scoring at 20.4 points per game heading into their next competition in New York.
His unprecedented rise during the last few months has attracted the attention of bigger programs, including an offer from new Texas coach, Shaka Smart.
“He’s a good dude, I talk to him and he’s always positive,” McGusty said. “I’ve never got that bad vibe about him, he’s always texting me, we have a really good relationship. That’s a real good thing, as a player you talk to assistant coaches when you get recruited, that’s not who you’re playing for. You’re playing for the head coach, so it’s always great to know your head coach before you decide what school you go to.”
Right now, McGusty’s recruitment is open, and he said he hopes to continue impressing coaches from powerhouse basketball programs this summer.
“Of course I’m always striving for more, you know,” he said. “I would like to see the Kentuckys, the Dukes. I just have to continue to improve myself and be one of those caliber players, which I think I can easily do.”
Until he starts seeing offers from those schools come in, McGusty said he is going to keep campaigning to make a bigger name for himself. The national attention he desires may arrive after this summer or next year during his high school season, but the smooth guard said he is confident he will get noticed one way or another.
For now, he said he is thankful for the attention he gets from interested college programs, and other, younger fans who watch him play.
“I love my fans,” he said. “Little kids at the game that always come up to me after, giving me high fives, asking me to sign their casts and stuff, I love that stuff. That lets me know I’m doing something right. We have kids from junior high that will be like ‘Kam, I want to play with you next year, I want to make varsity.’ So it’s always good to see that you’re giving a positive feedback to the community.”