May 29, 2024 

Cameron Brink is already a star in Los Angeles – and she’s just getting started 

Curt Miller: 'She has no idea how talented she could be'

During Cameron Brink’s senior year at Stanford, the 6’4 center averaged 17.4 points per game on 51% shooting. She had a whopping 11.9 rebounds per game and 20 double-doubles. Most famously, she had 127 blocks – 68 more than the second highest shot blocker in the Pac-12. But she also had 94 fouls. The All-American often sat for long portions of time to preserve her availability down the stretch. And for an elite player like Brink, there’s only one place you want her: on the floor. 

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Through Brink’s first six games in the WNBA, she’s proven herself to not only to be key to the Sparks lineup, but an immediate star. She leads the league in blocks per game with 3. She’s shooting 48.8% from the floor, 41.2% from three, and 90.9% from the free throw line. And, she’s doing all of this against matchups like MVP A’ja Wilson, rookie of the year Aliyah Boston, and the pro size and strength of Kalani Brown and Teaira McCowan. She had the first of what the Sparks hope many game-deciding blocks in the Sparks’ win over the Mystics. 

When considering her main areas of improvement, it’s hard to not read them as total compliments. Her teammates and her coach want her to play more minutes, and “hunt” more on offense. She’s already impactful, so the question from all parties involved is just how to build on it. The skillset, drive, and attitude are already there. 

Her team needs her to play ‘eight more minutes’

Brink had five fouls in four of the Sparks’ first five games. And for a rookie averaging 9.5 points in only 24.7 minutes, reducing finding ways to keep her on the floor will be a major key to Los Angeles’ success. If she can do that, she’s going to be a major contender for Rookie of the Year.

Coach Curt Miller is highly complimentary of his second overall draft pick. “Cam is a sponge,” Miller said. “She is the ultimate positive person. She uplifts our practices every day. And she is so fun to coach. She’s fun to be around. She brings a great lightness to our locker room.”

On the court, he wants her to be more selfish with the ball. “She’s more than capable. But it’s my job to continue to find ways to get her touches and put her in position to be successful.”

Because of Cameron’s immense impact defensively, coaches are already “scheming” around how to get her away from the basket, a high compliment for a rookie five games into her season.

“Every time you have a great shot blocker, you have to give them freedom, especially off the ball,” said Miller. “She can come and really affect shots even when she’s not blocking shots. But now their scheme is to look for Cam’s player as she comes to help.” 

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When asked about how she can stay out of foul trouble, Miller said “Sometimes she’s just going to get buried […], and we’re going to lose that possession, […] She feels like she can go get every shot. And at times, two points against you to be able to play eight more minutes for us in a game is more important than two points on that possession.”

He pointed specifically to a play with Aliyah Boston on Friday night’s matchup with the Indiana Fever, when Boston took a fade-away jumper off her non-dominant shoulder. In future instances, her coach wants her to recognize that her opponent is taking the most difficult shot in her repertoire, and learn to “live with it if it goes in.” For someone with the competitive drive and shot blocking of Cameron Brink, it’s a tough lesson. 

In Sunday’s close loss to the Dallas Wings, Brink had a breakout offensive start, hitting three threes and amassing 15 points in the first 17 minutes of the game. She notched her third foul with 3:46 left in the first half, which forced her to sit and lose some rhythm. Brink didn’t want to be on the bench. Her teammates, her coaches, and the fanbase that’s already come to adore her didn’t want her there either.

Brink reflected on the game, noting that she’s receiving grace from her teammates and coaches when it comes to fouling.

“Obviously I think there were a lot of fouls that didn’t go our way,” she said. “There was one play where I was just completely tackled, like blindsided out of nowhere. And so that led to a frustration foul on my end. So that’s where maturity comes in, where I need to get better. But that means a lot that he [Coach Miller] trusts me and I’ll just continue to show him that he can continue to trust me.” 

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‘She’s a pleasure to coach’

As the season goes on, Brink will also continue to benefit from the coaching and mentorship of Sparks assistant coach Camille Little, whom Miller praises as one of the “elite post defenders in this league’s history.” 

Brink herself is focusing on her game holistically right now. When asked about how she’s adjusting to the size and skill of the league, Brink said she’s looking at “[Taking] more outside shots, using my quickness to my advantage. Working on my passing skills, getting the ball to Dearica, just kind of the same old. Continuing to work every day.” 

“She’s a pleasure to coach you guys, I can’t say enough good things about Cam,” said Miller. “She is a worker. And she’s competitive, and she wants to win. She’s an unselfish superstar and the offensive end. She has no idea how talented she could be.”

Written by Cameron Ruby

Cameron Ruby has been a contributing writer for The Next since April 2023. She is a Bay Area native currently living in Los Angeles.

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