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EIU men's basketball 013119

Eastern Illinois' Cam Burrell (10) comes away with a steal in the first half of EIU's 80-60 win over Eastern Kentucky on Jan. 31, 2019 at Lantz Arena.

Cam Burrell waited until the end of the spring semester to announce the conclusion he had reached.

Burrell, a 6-foot-7 freshman forward, is transferring from Eastern Illinois in search of a program that he feels can offer him a "better fit" for his abilities.

“I’m looking for more of a fast-paced game, running up and down a lot, stuff like that, where I can play my game and play the style of basketball I was used to playing all the time before,” Burrell said.

EIU, to Burrell’s point, ranked 214th nationally out of 353 teams in adjusted tempo last season, according to KenPom. The Panthers had an average possession length of 17.6 seconds, good for 175th nationally. The Panthers played a few faster paced games, such as a 71-possession contest in January against Murray State, but for the most part, they settled into their half-court offense instead of making a decided effort to push the ball in transition every game. When they did, though, or when they needed to defend in transition, Burrell found himself in the middle of it with some frequency.

“I was still able to play my game at EIU with rebounding, was able to get up and down a little bit,” Burrell said. “That’s all we did before. That’s how we played in Chicago, with the Mac Irvin Fire, it was up-and-down constantly, pressure, just really energetic. And at Morgan Park, that was the style I was used to.”

Burrell averaged 4.3 rebounds per game, which ranked second on the team. He led the Panthers in offensive rebound percentage (13.0) and also ranked second in blocks per game (0.9). After missing eight non-conference games due to injury, Burrell returned for conference play and became a more pronounced force. His 36 offensive rebounds in 18 conference games were one shy of JaQualis Matlock’s team-high.

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“The thing I was doing well was rebounding and playing defense, blocking shots, offensive rebounding,” Burrell said. “When I came back from my injury, I was big on that and helped the team with stuff like that.”

Burrell said he has heard from Division I schools, Division IIs and junior colleges since entering his name in the NCAA’s transfer portal. He said he did not make the move with specific intentions of moving up a level, though staying in Division I is his preference. He has not set any visits.

“I haven’t really narrowed anything down yet. I’m going to give it a little more time,” Burrell said.

One option he’s considering is going to junior college for a year. That would allow him to play the 2019-20 season instead of sitting out a year if he went straight to another Division I school.

“If I don’t garner the interest from D1 schools, I don’t want to be in a rush to make a decision and end up in the wrong spot,” Burrell said. “If I don’t find the interest I’m looking for, I’ll probably go to a JUCO, spend some time there and try and go back to D1.”

Contact Patrick Engel at (217) 238-6856. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickEngel_

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Sports writer

I cover Eastern Illinois football and basketball, as well as Mattoon/Charleston prep sports, for the JG-TC

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