VIDEO: Cam Andre Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – This is the final part in a series breaking down Carson-Newman's men's basketball positions for the 2019-20 season. Junior Cam Andre (Kissimmee, Fla.) assists with breaking down the Eagles forwards and centers.
Gone are Parker Role' and Mason Bates, but the Eagles return a pair of junior big men in Andre and Dima Bykov (Moscow, Russia) to go along with three transfers – EJ Bush (Bryan), Bryant Thomas (UNC Charlotte) and Richard Henderson (Austin Peay).
"Dima and I both came back in excellent shape from over the summer," Andre said. 'That was a big point of emphasis for ourselves. We had to do that to give us the best chance to compete for a ring this year. We're both moving better and I'm excited for what that could mean."
Andre appeared in 21 games and made 17 starts as a low post presence for the Eagles. He averaged 5.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while filling up the cup at a 62.9 percent clip, the most efficient shooter for C-N for the year. Andre had a trio of double-digit scoring efforts on the year. He topped out at 11 twice, doing so against Lenoir-Rhyne (12/5) and UVA-Wise (1/2), both in Holt Fieldhouse. He had a double-digit rebounding effort, snagging 11 boards in a victory over Fort Valley State (12/8).
"EJ, Rich and Bryant all bring some athleticism to the table," Andre said. "Rich and EJ are both crazy athletic. Bryant has a 7-3 wing span and can just block shots. If he's giving us problems, he's going to give other teams fits."
Bush is the most heralded of the trio, establishing himself as an NAIA All-American in two seasons at Bryan.
He also garnered All-AAC First Team and All-Defensive Team recognition at the conclusion of the Lions' regular season. Bush led Bryan in a myriad of stats, including 474 total points for a 17.6 points per game average, 227 rebounds for an 8.4 rebounds per game average, 61 assists and 45 blocks. His 24 steals were second on the team. He shot 48 percent from the field. Bush tallied a team-best 11 double-doubles in his sophomore season at Bryan, which was the 5th most in the AAC. He had a career-high 32 points in mid-January against St. Andrews University (N.C.). He ranked 12th in the NAIA in blocks per game.
"EJ is just an overall hard-nosed player on both sides of the ball," Andre said. "He goes to the rim crazily. Hop-step, anything you need, he's going to get to the rim and either get fouled or go score. He, Rich and Bryant are all so long."
Thomas transfers to Carson-Newman from UNC Charlotte where he came off the bench for the 49ers. He will have three years of eligibility with the Eagles. In his only year with the 49ers, Thomas averaged 2.2 points per game in 10 games. He had a solid all-around game in his first collegiate game with eight points, six rebounds and four block shots against Methodist before a foot injury sidelined him for the latter half of his freshman season.
In high school as a senior, Thomas averaged a double-double with 17.9 points and 10 rebounds with 7.7 blocks per game which led the nation, according to MaxPreps
A two-year player with 56 career games under his belt at Austin Peay, Henderson comes to Mossy Creek after scoring 166 points on 52.3 percent shooting as a key reserve for the Govs. He tallied a pair of double-digit scoring efforts as a sophomore, turning in a season-high 13 points and seven rebounds in a win over Calvary.
"Rich is a great rebounder who plays stellar defense," Andre said. "He's a bigger guy and really athletic. He's just all over the place and he'll go block shots if he needs to."
He had 10 in 13 minutes off the bench in the Govs opener against Oakland City. As a freshman, Henderson posted an efficient shooting night with an 8-for-9 performance against Oakland City, netting a career-high 18 points.
Carson-Newman opens the season Nov. 8 at Lees-McRae at 7:30 p.m. Coverage will be available on the Eagle Sports Network at 7:15 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on The Mountain 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.