By Joel Davidson
CCC Journalism Program
The biggest opportunities for a Camden County College athlete are some exercise, competition, and teamwork.
At least that’s what many CCC students appear to think. In a random survey of 30 students at the Blackwood campus, 19 believed the sports program doesn’t offer opportunities beyond the program itself.
However, Lou Abbattista, CCC’s men’s basketball coach, says the sports program can help students get recruited and even obtain scholarships. Abbattista himself is actively involved in the process.
“I send out five or six tapes a week for players. I call coaches all over the country for our kids,” Abbattista said. He tells players to do their schoolwork, wear a shirt and tie, and shave, and the coaching staff will get them recruited.
And it’s working.
The CCC basketball team boasts former athletes who now play for Cabrini College, Rosemont College, and Barry University. “Off of this year’s team, I think six or seven guys will go play at 4-year schools,” Abbattista said.
One such student is Chris Gebhart, a 6-foot 9-inch sophomore who played basketball for Abbattista this year.
To other students interested in joining, Gebhart advises them to “do it. Don’t hesitate.”
Gebhart cites the knowledgeable staff and coaches who look out for players and help them transfer as two reasons to join the sports program. Abbattista believes Gebhart will obtain a scholarship.
Being a star athlete isn’t everything though.
Peter DiLorenzo, director of athletics at CCC, advises students to do well in their studies, as students must maintain good grades if they want to play college sports at the next level.
DiLorenzo recalled athletes who didn’t focus on academics and couldn’t play sports elsewhere as a result.
The door swings both ways, too. An average athlete with above average grades might receive offers to continue playing at 4-year schools, DiLorenzo said.
More information on the sports program can be found at camdenccathletics.com.