Cameron Oliver Signs Deal With Portland Trailblazers
The Dream lives on
Former Nevada basketball star Cam Oliver has signed a training camp deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. This is yet another opportunity for the high flying 6’8” and 225 pounds forward to earn a spot in the NBA. Declaring for the draft after his sophomore season at Nevada Cam was invited to the NBA combine and was projected to be a mid to late second-round draft choice in some mock drafts.
Things did not work out as planned on draft night and at the end of the evening Cam realized his life had taken yet another turn. Sixty players had been selected and Oliver was not one of them.
This was not the first time Oliver had faced a setback to his basketball career, a torn ACL his junior year in high school had caused him to sit out the entire season and then there was the Oregon State fiasco. Bouncing back from the ACL injury he had an impressive senior year at Grant High School in Sacramento averaging a double-double. College coaches took note and Oliver received offers from Oregon, Arizona State, San Jose State, and Oregon State.
Oliver took an official visit to Oregon State in late March of 2014 and verbally committed to Oregon State a few days later. Head Coach Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s brother, was fired in early May. The basketball program at Oregon State was in chaos, their top 6 players were all gone, half graduated and half transferred and now they had no Head Coach. His reaction was captured in a tweet “Yo man this is crazy. Smh.”
Not sure what path he wanted to take and feeling like the rug had been pulled out from under him with Coach Robinson’s firing Oliver returned to Sacramento. It what must have been a tough decision he decided not to enroll at Oregon State. Oliver’s basketball dreams were on hold. A job at Dollar Tree and then at a call center had him wondering if there was any future at all for him in basketball. As the winter of 2015 turned into spring little did Oliver know that just “over the hill” as local say, in Reno a coaching change at Nevada would impact his life in a major way.
Nevada coming off a 9 win season had decided to make a coaching change and had hired Eric Musselman almost exactly a year after Coach Robinson had been let go by Oregon State. Coach Musselman’s first hire was Assistant Doug Stewart who had been Associate Head Coach under Craig Robinson at Oregon State. The extensive recruiting connections Stewart had on the west coast had helped land him the job at Nevada.
By the middle of June Stewart and Coach Musselman had convinced him that Nevada was the place he needed to be. In a way it was the perfect storm, a program in need of rebuilding, a Coach wanting to establish himself in the college ranks and a player that wanted a chance to chase his dreams again. It didn’t take long for the perfect storm to coalesce, Nevada with Coach Musselman at the helm and Oliver bringing thunderous dunks and outrageous blocks Nevada post 24 wins and the CBI title. Oliver was back doing what he loved.
His numbers improved his second season at Nevada averaging 16 points, 8.7 boards, 2.6 blocks and 1.8 assists. It was time to test the NBA waters and Oliver hired an agent ending his college career and embarking on a pro career. Not drafted but not ignored, He was quickly signed by the Houston Rockets but waived in October 2017. A month latter he signed with the Wisconsin Heard and then traded to the Delaware 87’ers in the G league.
This summer he played in the NBA summer league and made enough of a splash to earn a coveted invite to the Portland Trail Blazers training camp. There are no guarantees he will make the team, over 200 players not under contract will attend NBA camps at the end of this month and only a handful will make the final roster.
A more likely scenario for Oliver is that he gets a 2-way contract. He is a step closer to realizing his dream of playing in the NBA and with his skill set, athleticism and drive we can expect to see him in an NBA uniform before seasons end.