If there was a team award for most improved player from the beginning to the end of the season, the BayHawks' Kyle Goldcamp would likely be named the winner. As the local kid–Goldcamp is from Pittsburgh but played his college ball at Division II Gannon University in Erie–there was a lot of added pressure and attention on Goldcamp during his rookie season with the BayHawks.
Many people thought just making the team was an accomplishment, and early in the season, it appeared like the coaches agreed as Goldcamp saw very little playing time. Then, just as Goldcamp seemed to be gaining some traction and earning some minutes, he was released from the team due to injury on Feb. 5. He was then reacquired Feb. 25, and he went on to log 20-plus minutes in eight of the team's final 12 games, including a season-high 36 minutes in the home finale against Springfield on April 2. In that game, Goldcamp tied his career highs in points (12) and blocks (2) while setting a new personal best with 3 steals. He also contributed with 8 rebounds as Erie won the game 107-90.
Goldcamp started each of the final five games for Erie and made 10 starts in his 32 appearances for the season. He finished the year averaging 3.3 points in 13.4 minutes per game on 50.4 percent shooting from the field.
The biggest takeaway from Goldcamp this season was his hustle and effort. He was a tenacious defender, the type of player that always got under the skin of whomever he was defending. Although he had his trouble with fouls (his 7.3 fouls per 48 minutes was the most among the BayHawks), he brought energy and effort every time he set foot on the court. He was also the best screener on the team, setting ferocious picks to free open his teammates.
Offensively, Goldcamp could benefit from a more polished post game and a better touch a la John Bryant from mid-range. He scored most of his points on put-backs, dunks, and layups. To be fair, though, the team didn't run many plays for him either.
All in all, I think it's safe to say that Goldcamp had a better-than-expected rookie campaign. The transition from D2 to the D-League is not an easy one to make, but after a slow start, Goldcamp adjusted well and made himself into a solid big man for the BayHawks capable of contributing on a regular basis. With the Erie connection, I know there are a lot of local fans hoping Goldcamp returns for a second season with the BayHawks. If he opts to return, I'm willing to bet the team would love to have him back.