Piedmont's Tripp a 2-sport prospect
Wants to be more of a leader this year
Jul. 27, 2013 @ 12:33 PM
If you frequent Piedmont High's campus and haven't noticed Cameron Tripp, you're just not paying attention.
Tripp stands out in a lot of ways.
It starts with his sheer size — the rising junior has grown to 6-foot-7 and 200 pounds, adding roughly an inch and 20 pounds since the winter of his sophomore year.
Then there's the athletic prowess.
Tripp is the starting quarterback for the football team, after sharing the reps with then-senior Sawyer Baucom in 2012.
When the weather cools, Tripp will lace up his basketball sneakers as a returning starter from last year's 21-6 team.
And last but hardly least, Tripp shines in the classroom.
He carries a 4.6 GPA on the weighted scale, and ranks third in his class.
His commitment to success was rewarded last month when Army head basketball coach Zach Spiker offered him the opportunity to play Division I basketball while he was attending camp on the West Point, N.Y., campus.
"I knew they were interested in me so I went up there focused and ready to go," Tripp said. "Coach Spiker sat down with me after the camp and said 'I don't know how many Division I offers you have but you have one here at West Point.' ... It was definitely one of the brightest moments of my basketball career."
Tripp has traveled all over the Eastern Seaboard this summer as a two-sport prospect.
Football coaches seem intrigued, and he accepted invites to attend one-day football camps at North Carolina, Clemson, Duke, N.C. State, East Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
"It's been a busy summer," he said. "It would be a morning session and an afternoon session. They just wanted to see how I move and that kind of stuff."
Tripp, who was clocked at 4.81 second in the 40-yard dash, according to hudl.com. Coaches from Georgia, Tennessee, Clemson have asked to see film from his first couple games of 2013.
Tripp will have to decide which sport he wants to play in college one day, but he's not there yet.
"When it's football season football's my favorite sport and when it's basketball season basketball's my favorite sport," he said. "Right now I'm looking into both and keeping all my options open. After this year, or maybe midway through this year, I'll make a decision."
Tripp has the benefit of his dad's experience.
Dennis Tripp played on the defensive line for the UNC Tar Heels and was briefly with the New York Giants (1991-92) before eventually becoming a strength and conditioning coach at Florida and South Carolina.
"My dad's influence on me has helped a lot," he said. "He's been through the recruiting process and he knows what questions to ask and what to look for. I've always been a Tar Heel, but I'm not biased anymore. I'll consider all my options."
'We're definitely not scared'
Tripp is looking forward to high school football practice opening on Thursday.
The Panthers finished 5-7 last season, and face the challenge of moving from 2A to 3A.
"We've all looked at the schedule and 3A is a lot different," he said. "But we're definitely not scared of the challenge. We know we're picked low in the conference but we'll use the underdog card."
Football coach Ron Massey and boys basketball coach Rudi Heath are both entering their second seasons at Piedmont.
Tripp is complimentary of what both men have brought to their respective programs.
"Coach Massey and Coach Heath have changed the culture at Piedmont," he said. "The athletes are more dedicated now."
Tripp says Massey's scheme hasn't changed, but he's optimistic "we'll throw more passes this year."
Tripp expresses confidence in his receiving corps that includes seniors Tyler Ivey, Devin Thomas, Jacob Collura and Colton Greene, and says he will also look for senior running backs Matt Fisher and Tyler Long.
"We're looking good," he said. "We've been lifting three days a week and running three days a week. We've worked hard this summer."
'I want to beat people off the dribble'
In a few short months, football season will give way to basketball.
Last year Tripp averaged 11.5 points and led Union County in rebounding at 9.2 per game.
"We had a great year last year," Tripp said. "We lost some guys but we're expecting to be good again."
Tripp has spent time working on his face-up game and lateral quickness this offseason.
"I want to be able to shuffle and play better one-on-one defense," he said. "Offensively, I want to be more dynamic. I've added a 3-point shot and I want to beat people off the dribble more. And I definitely want to be a better leader this year."
Looking further down the road, Tripp plans to attend medical school with aspirations of becoming a sports orthopedist.
Given his long-term goals, the opportunity West Point offers is a little more enticing.
If he were to finish among the top 10 percent of his graduating class at West Point, Army would cover his cost to attend any med school that accepts him.
That would, however, commit him to a seven-year stint in the military (as opposed to the typical five-year commitment).
He's interested enough to plan a visit during the school year so he can get a better feel for the atmosphere on campus.
"It would definitely be a life commitment and a lifestyle change," Tripp said. "But I've come up in a disciplined home life, so that would help. It's something I'm interested in and I will educate myself more on it."
For now, Tripp resides as one of Union County's top two-sport athletes — and the big man on Piedmont's campus.
To see Tripp's highlights from the 2012 football season, go to http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1659225/cameron-tripp