Across the Pond: London native making impact for Lady Lions

She may not be putting up the numbers that stand out in the scorebook, but freshman Mollie Campbell is making an immediate impact for the Arkansas-Pine Bluff women’s basketball team.

“Her attitude and her work ethic is unbelievable,” UAPB head coach Nate Kilbert said. “By the time she becomes a junior she could be one of the best players in the conference.

“She is a workaholic and I think you can see that on the court.”

Campbell, a native of Manchester, London, has started all but three games this season for the Lady Lions. She averages 2.8 points per game and three rebounds.

She had a season-high six points on 2 of 3 shooting against Talladega College at home on Dec. 17. She was also 2 of 3 from the free-throw line in that game and grabbed a season-high seven rebounds, as well.

“We are fortunate to have her on the team,” Kilbert said. “She is going to be a good ballplayer.”

According to Kilbert, one of the reasons Campbell continues to start for UAPB is her constant work-ethic.

“She outworks everybody,” Kilbert said. “Her work-ethic is just better than anybody at her position.

“She works harder than anybody in practice and has a great attitude. She is the kind of person coaches look for.”

Before joining UAPB last fall, Campbell played for the 18-and-under and 20-and-under England national teams.

Now she is a team captain for the Lady Lions (1-14, 0-5 SWAC).

“She earned that spot,” Kilbert said. “With the way she works, it is going to be hard to take it away from her.

“We wish we had an upperclassman that worked as hard as she does, but we have yet to see that at her position.”

Assistant head coach Danny Evans said he began recruiting Campbell during the 2012-13 season.

“We spoke about her coming over a visit,” Evans said. “We got real comfortable with each other through emails and phone calls.

“Her deciding to come to UAPB has been one of the true blessings in life.”

Campbell told Evans that playing Division I basketball in America was really important to her.

“She then came on an official visit and she really enjoyed it,” Evans said. “We tried to show her what we were about.

“… She liked the academics, the atmosphere and decided to come here. That was big.”

Evans said he wasn’t sure of the specifics but he did say, “She was open to a lot of offers.”

“After we gave her our offer, she just decided to come here almost immediately,” Evans said. “I know she had some offers but getting her to come here was a pretty big sign for us.”

Evans said he was certainty open to the idea of having more international players coming to play for the Lady Lions.

“I’m trying to see if we can get more players from there,” Evans said. “You never know. It’s all about the recruiting process.

“That’s what is tough about it.”

So far, Campbell has not appeared to let any of the high praise go to her head.

“We are constantly encouraging her to take more shots,” Kilbert said. “But she is more team-oriented.

“If she took 10 shots a game, she might be in the double digits in scoring, but she just doesn’t take that many shots. It is not in her DNA right now.”

Kilbert thinks by her junior year, Campbell might be more of a scoring threat.

Until then, he says, “She feels like there are other people who need the ball more than she does.”

Her focus is completely on the team’s performance.

“Whatever the team needs her to do, she is the one we turn to,” Kilbert said.

Campbell and the rest of the Lady Lions will take a two-game swing through Texas this weekend to visit Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern. The Lady Lions will return home on Feb. 1 to host Grambling State at H.O. Clemmons Arena beginning at 5 p.m.