ALBANY — Cameron Healy made his return last weekend for the UAlbany men’s basketball team, but head coach Will Brown said Wednesday that it was clear “he’s got a ways to go” before being able to contribute the production the Great Danes expect from the redshirt junior.
“Based on watching him, I just didn’t think he was ready — and that’s OK,” Brown said during a teleconference with reporters. “I think Cam’s going to help us win a lot of games this season, and we’re a really dangerous team — again — when he’s healthy and he’s able to play at the level that we’re all used to him playing.”
After missing four games with an oblique injury, Healy — a preseason all-conference selection who struggled late last season with an injury — played in UAlbany’s sweep of NJIT last weekend, but only managed two points on 1 of 5 shooting in 17 total minutes off the bench. While Healy moved better than the last time he played, which was in UAlbany’s second game of the season against UMBC that Healy exited early from in pain, he didn’t look as comfortable on offense as he typically has throughout a college career that has already seen him score 971 career points.
While Healy mostly was a non-factor against NJIT, UAlbany’s offense had its best weekend of the season. The Great Danes were shooting 42% from the field and averaging 63.7 points per game heading into its weekend series with NJIT, and UAlbany made 56.1% of its shots in scoring 83 points each game against the Highlanders.
Such a strong showing perhaps makes it easier for the Great Danes — who are 3-3 in America East Conference play ahead of this weekend’s trip to play New Hampshire — to take it slow in terms of building up Healy’s minutes. Brown said “it was good to have Cameron in uniform” against NJIT, but that “I’m going to really temper my expectations” regarding the impact Healy can immediately make for the Great Danes whose “No. 1 priority is winning” games.
“So my honest opinion is, obviously, we want to make sure Cam is healthy and comfortable, but the other thing is, in my opinion, I think he’s got a ways to go. I think he needs these next three days of practice, and, in all honesty, regardless of his past history of minutes played and points scored and all that, his minutes will increase when I feel that he’s capable of being productive consistently on both sides of the ball, and that’s really why he only played  minutes [last] weekend.”
The best version, though, of UAlbany this season involves a healthy Healy taking 15-plus shots per game. That’s no secret, even after a weekend that saw the Great Danes turn in two tremendous offensive showings.
“So I don’t want to put any pressure on him,” Brown said. “He’s a competitor. He wants to play.”