YSU’s Belin finding his offensive game

YOUNGSTOWN – Kamren Belin has never had a problem expressing himself. Tuesday, he let his unique fashion sense do the talking.

Belin, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound Youngstown State University forward men’s basketball player, showed off his dapper self with a long-sleeve, white-collar shirt covered by a navy blue sweater vest – displaying his best Jim Tressel look. He topped that with maroon pants and high-top sneakers.

“I feel I’m the best dressed guy on campus,” Belin said.

Confidence has seemingly never eluded the junior college transfer, who is in his first season with the YSU men’s basketball team.

Belin’s career-high 21 points led Penguins to a 75-72 victory at Milwaukee on Saturday.

It wasn’t always this way.

Belin started four of the first five games scoring in double figures, including two double-doubles against North Dakota State and James Madison.

From there, his game suffered. Surprisingly, his confidence was wavering.

“I’m stilling trying to find my role on the team,” Belin said. “I think I’m carving that out more right now. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.

“I need to score. I need to rebound. I need to do whatever it takes to play hard for the team to win. When I knock down shots, it increases the chances for me.”

Teammates like junior guard Kendrick Perry have faith in the team’s boisterous forward.

“Before the game in Green Bay, KP told me our chances of winning increase when you have a good game,” Belin said. “I’m just getting into the groove and everything.

“One time during the game in Milwaukee, I shot a 3. It went in and out. Even though it went in and out, I heard my teammates on the sidelines going, ‘Count it. Count it.’ It’s just the confidence level.”

YSU coach Jerry Slocum knew all along Belin had what it takes to be successful, to help the Penguins (10-8, 2-3 Horizon League) be better offensively.

“There’s no secret that we have not played well offensively at sometimes during the course of this year,” Slocum said. “Kam is a very capable guy. He’ll be one of the first guys to say to you, at times, he’s been disappointed with his offensive production. Played on Saturday his best game for us, played with confidence and shot the ball with confidence and played like we know he can play.

“A lot of people talked to me about Kam having a great ball game. To me, at no point, was it a surprise because that’s the play I always thought he’s capable of. I believe he’s finding his way and we’re looking forward to good things the rest of the way from him.”

Tonight, when YSU hosts Wright State (14-5, 5-1), which is tied with Valparaiso (15-5, 5-1) for the league lead. Tipoff at the Beeghly Center is at 7:05 p.m.

Last time the Penguins played at home, they were blown out by Detroit, which lost to Wright State Monday, 64-62. The Titans beat the Penguins on Jan. 10, 101-60.

“We need to have the same mentality we have on the road,” Belin said. “It’s more about us, not about the crowd. I feel like we will show that (tonight) during our game. Our focus level is way higher than what it was as far as home games.”

Offensively, it will be a monumental task for YSU to get past a stringent Raiders defense, who allows a league best 56.8 points per game.

“I think they’re the best team in the league,” Slocum said. “They’re a team that guards the whole clock. Every possession they’re based on great defensive feet. That’s their staple. They have enough offense with some very capable players. They’re for real.”

Wright State is led by a pair of underclassmen, Cole Darling (6-8, 200, F,, junior) and Reggie Arceneaux (5-9, 160, PG, sophomore). Darling averages 11.4 points per game, while Arceneaux has 11 points per outing.

As for Belin, it won’t take him much to get up for tonight’s game.

Wright State coach Billy Donlon recruited Belin before coming to YSU from Cowley Junior College in Arkansas City, Kan. – south of Wichita, near the Oklahoma border.

“I’m excited for this game, definitely,” Belin said. “I know he remembers me. I want to make sure he remembers me, especially after this game.”