ALBANY — A day after head coach Will Brown’s dismissal as head coach of the UAlbany men’s basketball program, redshirt junior Cameron Healy became the first scholarship player to depart from the program this offseason.
The decision, though, wasn’t completely related to the program seeking its first new head coach since Brown took over the program in December 2001. Healy said Tuesday in a phone interview that while he didn’t finalize his decision to leave UAlbany until after the Great Danes’ season was complete with Sunday’s loss at Hartford in the America East Conference playoffs, heading elsewhere as a graduate transfer was “something I’ve always known could be a possibility for myself, especially after redshirting my first year.” With UAlbany heading in a new direction with its men’s basketball program, Healy said it’s “the perfect time” for him to seek a “fresh, clean slate” after struggling with injuries the last 13 months of his time with the Great Danes.
Verbalcommits.com was the first to report Tuesday that Healy had entered into the NCAA transfer portal. The 6-foot-3 guard became the second Great Dane overall to enter into the portal after walk-on sophomore Will Kondrat previously entered Tuesday.
Healy’s career at UAlbany had its highs and lows. The guard, who was born in Indianapolis and grew up in Australia, redshirted his true freshman season at UAlbany, then starred for the first half of his playing career before injuries severely limited him in the second half of his tenure with the Great Danes that finished with Healy nine points shy of 1,000 for his career.
The last year couldn’t have been easy for Healy, but he never complained publicly about how his on-court role diminished and was a vocal cheerleader from the bench area when he wasn’t in the game. In February, he described wanting to “prove something” in what turned out to be the final month of his UAlbany career.
“But not at the expense of the team,” Healy said last month. “Never. I’m just looking to contribute.”
On Tuesday, he described his time at UAlbany as “amazing for all four years,” and credited Brown and his coaching staff for increasing his knowledge of the game, and creating an environment he’ll fondly remember.
“I’ve been so lucky to have amazing teammates since I’ve been at UAlbany,” Healy said.
When Healy was healthy, he was one of the top players in the America East Conference. In the 2018-19 season, he broke Jamar Wilson’s rookie-season program scoring record of 509 points with 512, and earned third-team all-conference and all-rookie team selections. That season, he also set the program’s record for most made 3-pointers in a season with 104 and tied the school record for most made 3s in a single game with nine.
As a sophomore, Healy starred until a back/hips injury affected his play severely during the second half of conference action. Before his injury affected his play that season, Healy scored a single-game program record of 41 points in a win against UMass Lowell.
After struggling down the stretch of the 2019-20 regular season because of injury, Healy starred in UAlbany’s only playoff game that year, tossing in 28 points in a memorable performance that nearly saw him single-handedly will the Great Danes past Stony Brook.
“Coming back from injury,” Healy said of that game, “I felt like everyone was doubting me.”
His 2020-21 season never got a real chance, as he suffered an oblique injury during warm-ups prior to UAlbany’s season-opening game against UMBC, and he never fully regained his health and mobility during the Great Danes’ 7-9 campaign that ended with him making three-minute cameos in each of UAlbany’s playoff games.
How good was Healy when he was healthy?
The star guard averaged 16.2 points per game in the first 55 games of his college career. In those games, Healy made 40% of the 430 shots he took from 3-point territory.
In the final 20 games he played at UAlbany, Healy averaged 5.1 points and made 25% of his 72 3-point attempts. Without Healy’s great playoff game against Stony Brook in that mix, Healy’s scoring average drops to 3.8 points per game and his shooting percentage from 3-point territory falls to 19.4%.
Healy was a preseason all-conference first-team selection prior to the 2020-21 season. Healy averaged 3.2 points in 11.4 minutes per game during his injury-plagued season. For his UAlbany career, Healy averaged 13.2 points per game.
In terms of his current health, Healy said he feels “pretty good” and that he’d been “on an upward path” since the start of 2021.
“I feel really lucky,” Healy said, “but it’s sad things are ending the way they are in Albany.”
Healy said he’ll graduate in May with a degree in communications, but that he’ll also complete minors in business, psychology and sociology. He let his hair grow long this season, but had it trimmed Tuesday afternoon as he gets set to embark upon what’s ahead.
“I’m just excited for the next chapter,” Healy said.