Camille-Awa Baud Brings Clear Vision to Cloud County

Nantes/Concordia, KS

Cloud County recently signed Camille-Awa Baud, a senior PG currently finishing up at North Central Texas Academy to fill the void in the Thunderbird’s backcourt.  Ms. Baud made an instant impact on her arrival at NCT as a junior, leading her team to a 6th consecutive TAPPS State Championship and putting up around 25ppg.  Hailing from Nantes, France, Baud reflects on her journey “My first trip to the USA was in 2015, I believe in March or April, accompanied by my basketball coach Vincent Mbassi (Vince) from Kameet Basketball Academy. We went to Atlanta to see his friend Dorian Lee of Bball101, in order to play and evaluate my level in the USA.  During this week, we played really hard. It was interesting to be in a totally different environment than what I am used to. I am thankful for those two coaches, especially Vince.”

Asked about the difference between her Junior and Senior years in the US, Baud noted “During my junior year, I still had to adapt to my new way of life since it was my first year in the USA. Also, I had to play AAU which consumed a lot of my time because I lived 1:30 hours far from my team location. On the other hand, at the beginning of my senior year and during the first few months, I had to work extremely hard for many tests (ACT, SAT, TOEFL) and work on my college applications as well. I have to admit that it was a stressful period but once I was done with this, I got to relax and this allowed me to make new friends. Overall, I would say that I liked my senior year better than my junior year.”

Coach Erkenbrak, the now legendary Head Coach of Cloud County offered insight into why he extended an offer to Camille “We were in search of a quality point guard who could lead our team since our pg was graduating after back-to-back all conference seasons.  We really like Camille’s ball skills (dribbling, shooting, passing) and think she can be an effective leader for us.” When asked about Baud after her official visit, Erkenbrak replied “I have been most impressed by Camille simply by her demeanor and personality.  I really think she is the “whole package” when it comes to being a student-athlete.  Camille is forthright, honest, motivated and dedicated to doing well on the floor and in the classroom.”  Baud echoed the Coach’s sentiments, saying “Coach Erkenbrack is without doubt a great person. The first time I met him, we directly got along. He is a very respectful and interesting person and I am looking forward to be coached by him next year. Cloud County was the team that clearly wanted me without doubt and knew they could do big things with me. After talking to their coaches and visiting the school, I realized that it was the right place for me.”

Cloud County Community College has a long tradition and legacy of over 50 years under the tenure of an Erkenbrak coach.  Starting in 1975 with Dennis Erkenbrak, who coached for 23 years and compiled an impressive 502-225 record, the baton was passed to his son and current NJCAA Region 6 all time winningest Coach, Brett Erkenbrak, who has logged an astonishing 628-268 record, winning at a 70% clip.  Brett was recently inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame and rightfully so.  In his 29th season at the helm, Erkenbrak has seen it all, helping over 150 young women (over 50 Division I and over 100 Division II and NAIA) go on to play in 4 year schools.  Prompted about his recent induction into the NJCAA Hall of Fame, Brett said “It is a great honor and very humbling that my peers have chosen to recognize me while I am still alive and coaching.  I think it speaks to the longevity and stability of our program and most certainly to the high quality of people and players that we have had here.”

Expanding on his experience with international players, Coach Erkenbrak said “As of today, Camille is our only international player for next season.  We have had a large number of very good international players from Australia, New Zealand, Serbia, Latvia, Chile’, Cameroon, South Africa, Canada and others.  Many of these young ladies went on to play at NCAA Div. I universities  in the US.  Klara Wischer, from Melbourne, Australia, was an All-American selection for us in 2011.  She went on to play at the University of San Diego and is currently playing professionally in Australia.”

Ms. Baud has set high goals for her first year at Cloud County,  “In my first year, I believe I will bring lots of energy and motivation to our team, which is extremely important. Also, I plan on making our team collectively good, since I am a good play maker and passer, and making us all understand each other on the court and have that kind of connection that makes it all easier. I also want to bring our team the furthest possible in the national tournament and of course win a championship. But that will be a teamwork, it won’t only depend on me.”  Coach Erkenbrak countered “We have finished in the top four of our region tournament each of the last two years and 14 of the past 24 seasons.  I certainly anticipate that to continue and look for us to be a top team nationally.  Each of the top four teams in our region this past season relied heavily on sophomores who have moved on, but I would anticipate a similar finish from all involved next year.”

Its not easy to leave one’s home country in high school to find their dream and Camille Baud, known affectionately by her friends and family as Cammy, concludes with the ups and downs of crossing over “I would say that I really like the fact that anybody (in the USA) can succeed in what they want to do, there are lots and lots of opportunities. If you want it you can do it. It does not work like that everywhere. What I miss most about my country is of course my family. There are also many other things that I miss about France but to me my family is more important than anything else. ”