In case you missed it, there's a new Golden Bear in town:
I've decided that I'm going to cal... Go bears!!!!!— Brittany Shine (@ShineyB23) April 30, 2012
Wow thanks everyone for all the love today.I really appreciate it!!.. I'm super excited to rock the blue and gold!!— Brittany Shine (@ShineyB23) May 3, 2012
Just a week after receiving the bad news that Lindsay Sherbert was transferring (to Gonzaga, incidentally) Cal's coaching staff didn't wait long to fill a roster spot when Florida transfer Brittany Shine decided to come back to California.
I say come back because the former top 100 recruit is a Sacramento native out of, appropriately, Sacramento High School. She's the former Sac Bee Player of the Year who considered a number of Pac-12 programs before ultimately heading 3,000 miles away to Florida.
So what is Cal getting with Brittany Shine?
First of all, the fine print: As a transfer, Shine will be eligible staring in the 2013-14 season. Knowing that, I would want Cal to find a player that A) can play important minutes immediately B) is versatile at the guard position and C) easily fits into Cal's style of play. From what I've read, Shine fulfills each criteria and hopefully more.
In 2013-14 Lindsay Gottlieb faces the difficult task of replacing Talia Caldwell, Eliza Pierre and Layshia Clarendon. Cal should be fine in the post, but Pierre and Clarendon leave behind big shoes. Prior to Shine's transfer, my assumption was that Gottlieb would bring in a star freshman or two to fill in the guard rotation. But Shine's addition means that Cal will have some veteran savvy to turn to.
But beyond her D1 experience, Shine brings skills that should fit right in. Consider these quotes from her recruiting profile when she was in high school:
The form was fine but she seemed to rush it a bit. Has the tools to be a top flight on-ball defender in the SEC.
Handles the ball well at speed and is really a stronger threat in transition.
Does that not sound exactly like the type of player Coach Gottlieb has been gravitating towards in her year on the job? When you hear about a combo gaurd can play great on-ball defense and excels in transition you start thinking about Eliza Pierre, which just happens to be a player Cal will need to replace when Shine becomes eligible. At the very least, I could see Shine at least taking on that role of the first guard off the bench that offers a change of pace on defense. But with Layshia and Eliza graduating I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up with more responsibilities as a starter at the 2 guard spot.
While at Florida, Shine never really got the playing time necessary to show her talent. Last year she only played 9 minutes/game for a veteran Gator squad that reached the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament and managed 3 points/game. Frankly, the amount of playing time is small enough that you can't really glean anything of meaning out of it. Her shooting could stand to improve, and Shine has said it will be a focus during her season off the court.
I'm excited because of that full year to practice and bond with back-court partner Brittany Boyd. In a year and a half the Bears will have a duel-threat of Brittanies to terrorize opposing guards! Transfers aren't always the best use of a scholarship, but in this case I think it's a great pick up because you've got a talented player who simply never got the playing time to excel in her previous stop because of a few entrenched veterans on the depth chart. Now she's got a full year to improve her skills knowing that she will get an opportunity with two more years of eligibility.
If Brittany Shine came to Cal to live closer to her family, she made the right choice. If she came to find playing time for an up-and-coming program, she made the right choice. If she came because she thinks her skills will fit in with what the coaches want to do, then I think she made the right choice. And if she came for all of those reasons then it sounds like a slam dunk.
Welcome to Berkeley, Brittany! We're looking forward to cheering you on in a year!