Hardwood heroes

Lowcountry basketball players of the year Amber Campbell from Northwood Academy and Jamez Rogers from Wando.

One is on her way out. The other is just getting started. Both are special talents.

The Post and Courier Lowcountry basketball players of the year - Northwood Academy's Amber Campbell and Wando's Jamez Rogers - clearly separated themselves as the top basketball players in the area this past season.

Campbell, a senior guard, capped one of the best five-year runs in state history by averaging 32.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.7 steals during the 2013-14 campaign.

Campbell finished third in state history in career points with 4,165 points and totaled more than 1,000 career rebounds. She did this in five seasons as a varsity starter, becoming the first player in school history to score 4,000 points in only five seasons.

Northwood compiled a 121-28 record in Campbell's five seasons, playing in four state championship games. The only thing missing from her storied career was a state championship gold medal.

"I guess that is the most disappointing thing, but I can't ever complain about the last five years here," said Campbell. "It was such a joy to play at Northwood. We gave it our best shot and even though we didn't win a state championship, I am very proud of all that we accomplished together. We did the best we could do."

Campbell is headed to Wake Forest on a basketball scholarship in the fall but will actually report to campus in early July to begin summer classes. She is not playing AAU basketball this summer, choosing to spend more time in the weight room and in the gym to hone her skills.

Since the end of the prep season, Campbell has been able to be a teenager, attending the prom last week and preparing for her May 24 graduation.

"I'm working hard and having fun," said Campbell, who is repeating as the Lowcountry Player of the Year. "I'm really preparing myself for the next chapter in my life but at the same time, I want to enjoy my last few weeks as a high school student."

While Campbell is preparing for the next step, Rogers is preparing to be a highly recruited prospect over the next two years.

Rogers, a 6-5 sophomore wing, led the Warriors to the school's first-ever basketball state championship this past season. The Warriors defeated Hillcrest in the AAAA state final in March behind Rogers' 25 points.

Rogers finished this season as the team's leading scorer, averaging 17 points per game. Though still very young, Rogers projects as a major prospect, Warriors coach David Eaton said.

"He is still growing and developing and his potential is off the charts," said Eaton, the Lowcountry Boys Coach of the Year. "Jamez is a worker. He loves to compete and he is constantly working to improve his game. Right now, he's a driver and ball-handler. As he improves as a shooter, I think people are really going to get in on him. He's a special talent, no doubt about it."

Rogers was a consistent performer throughout the regular season but turned up his level of play in the state playoffs. He scored 25 points in the opening round and capped the playoff run with a spectacular performance in the finals.

"He definitely raised his level of play in the playoffs, which is what great players do," said Eaton. "He loves big games and big situations. Off the court, he is the nicest kid at Wando. On the court, he wants to beat you and he will do anything he can to win."

Rogers himself admits to getting more jacked up to play in big games but tries to bring consistency to every game.

"Of course the bigger the game and the bigger the stage, I want to play well," said Rogers. "I play every game hard, though. I want to play well and I want to win every game."

Rogers is playing AAU ball currently with the SC Southern Stampede, along with other local players. Already this spring he has performed in Orlando and Charlotte, opening the eyes of college recruiters along the way. While exposure is a big thing during the AAU season, Rogers has other goals as well.

"I'm trying to become a better all-around player everyday," he said. "I want people to notice me and recruit me, but I also want to become the best player I can be."

Campbell is joined on the girls' All-Lowcountry first team by Heather Chapman of Summerville, Michelle Boykin of Bishop England, Dashonna Magoowd of Baptist Hill and Ericka Broughton of Goose Creek. Bishop England coach Paul Runey, who led the Bishops to a second state title in three years, is the girls' coach of the year.

Joining Rogers on the boys' first team are K.J. James of Porter-Gaud, Je'Quan Perry of Charleston Collegiate, Demetre Rivers of Stratford and Dantez Bennamon of Goose Creek.