Rim Country basketball fans tuning in last week to either the Arizona State vs. California or Arizona vs. California basketball games to see former Tonto Village Shelby School hoop star Harper Kamp ply his considerable hoop wares for the Golden Bears came away disappointed.
The let down was because Kamp was not in uniform and will not play this season for Cal.
He is sitting out the campaign, taking a redshirt year, in an effort to recover from off-season surgery to repair his right knee.
The 6-foot-8-inch, 250-pound forward was expected to start this season after being an important factor in the Bears success both his freshman and sophomore years.
He will now be a redshirt junior next season.
Longtime hardwood fans remember Kamp as the promising elementary and middle school player who starred eight years ago for the Shelby School Iguanas coached by Steve Rensch.
As a seventh-grader Kamp was named an all-star at the Copper State Jam and in 2000 led Shelby to the championship of the Town of Payson Boys Invitational Basketball Tournament, whipping San Carlos 38-35 in double overtime.
Those with really good memories will recall it was Kamp who scored on a final second desperation shot, after hauling a last-gasp, floor-length inbounds pass, to push the championship game into the first overtime period.
During his playing stint at the tiny Tonto Village school, Kamp usually dominated his big-school rivals, bullying his way in the paint for points and rebounds.
Behind him, Shelby became a powerhouse on the junior high school basketball scene.
After completing middle school, Kamp moved to Mesa where he played four years for coach Gary Ernst’s Mountain View Toros.
There he led the team to three consecutive Arizona State championships, was a three-time all-state selection and was voted the state’s Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2005.
Ernst often praised Kamp as fundamentally sound, intense and a highly coachable player.
His departure from the Rim Country to Mountain View prior to his freshman year left Payson High School fans and players wondering “What if?”
Had he decided to remain in Tonto Village and attend Payson High, he had the talent and drive to lead the Longhorns to the hardwood promised land. Especially because as an upperclassman he would have been on a team with some of Payson’s finest players including Robert Walker, Oliver Lewinson and Miles Huff.
During Kamp’s senior season at Mountain View, he became one of the most heavily recruited players in the state, eventually settling on California.
At Cal as a freshman, he played in all 33 games games averaging 4.4 ppg and 2.5 rpg. At the conclusion of the season, he was named honorable mention on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team.
In 2008-2009, while playing with a knee injury which limited his effectiveness, he earned his first career start at Oregon State and scored a career high 18 points against Oregon.
While Kamp is best remembered in the Rim Country as a stand out basketball player, he was also a star on the Shelby School chess team.
In 2001, he won the state elementary school individual chess championship winning seven matches and tying one with a score of 7.5 out of a possible eight. Chess is still a hobby.