Amir Maddred heard the story and simply smiled.
The 6-foot-7 Camden senior was told that assistant coach Arthur Barclay and head coach Cetshwayo Byrd said that if there was a flaw in Maddred's game, it was that he was too nice on the court.
"I get that a lot," Maddred said.
Maddred is a reluctant potential star, one who prefers to blend in, although he can dominate a game and has. A recent instance came when Maddred totaled 23 points and 12 rebounds in a 53-49 win over Bishop Eustace.
Maddred might need to be at his selfish best when Camden plays perennial national power St. Anthony of Jersey City in the Boardwalk Classic at 8:15 p.m. Sunday at the Wildwoods Convention Center.
Camden improved to 4-3 with Friday's 62-41 win over Williamstown in what was a typical Maddred game. He had 17 points and seven rebounds but took only seven shots from the field, making six.
Maddred hit a three-pointer, showing his range, and also scored inside with either hand, displaying his wide variety of ways to beat a defense.
"He is more skilled than I was at a similar age," Barclay said.
Barclay, a 2000 Camden graduate, was a two-time Inquirer All-South Jersey performer who scored 1,259 career points and earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Memphis.
"He can dribble, shoot, and score," Barclay said.
In high school, Barclay was a plugger who never met an offensive-rebound chance he didn't crave. But he didn't have the range that Maddred has.
Still, Maddred needs at times to be more single-minded on the court.
"He feels if he dominates he will be viewed as selfish," Byrd said. "I tell him when you dominate you help the team and open things up for everybody."
This is Maddred's first full season with Camden. He attended state powers St. Patrick's, as a freshman, and Trenton Catholic, as a sophomore. Maddred attended Camden as a junior and had to sit out the first 30 days of the season because of NJSIAA transfer rules.
When eligible, he made a big difference and eventually helped lead Camden to the South Jersey Group 3 championship.
"That was great, being part of that championship," Maddred said.
He's hoping for a repeat. However, this Camden team - which starts two freshmen, a sophomore, and a junior along with Maddred - will have to draw on his experience.
"I'm trying to be more of a leader," he said.
Maddred says five colleges have made the most headway in recruiting him: Kennesaw State (Ga.), Wagner, Delaware, Rider, and Quinnipiac.
Those schools, he said, view him as a small forward. With his shooting range, it's easy to see why.
He said that recruiting can wait. For now, he is looking forward to Camden's facing prohibitive favorite St. Anthony.
"This is the one game I have wanted the most this season," Maddred said. "St. Anthony is such a great program, and if we can play well, it will just boost our confidence."
Sometimes, Byrd concedes, he tries to light a fire under Maddred, but it's like playing with wet matches.
"I'll get on him, and he just cracks a smile and throws me off," Byrd said, laughing. "He has got a great personality and is a great kid."
And also a top player, one who hasn't felt comfortable in a leading role but has the ability to play the part.
Contact Marc Narducci
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @sjnard.