January 01, 2015

2015, The Year of the McPhee?

By Warren Grimes, a fervent Cardinal fan ...

Just last year . . . uhm . . . earlier this week, as a matter of fact, Brittany McPhee had a career day. Not an ordinary one, mind you, but a PBS MB career day. That stands for Points-Boards-Steals-Minutes-Blocks career day. And that does not even mention the most impressive thing about Brittany’s performance: the non-stop hustle. Hustle inspires your teammates, works up the fans, wins loose balls, makes defensive stops, and just plain wins games.

Brittany showed her stuff against what almost certainly will be the most hapless team on this season’s schedule: winless UCSB (Whatever happened to that successful program anyway?). Now it’s up to Brittany to continue this type of showing against stronger opponents. Already, though, the opportunity for her to be a difference maker is evident. Stanford needs the kind of diversified offense that Brittany offers. She’s tall enough to score among the trees, accurate enough to score from the outside, and agile enough to do a lot of driving, cutting, dicing and dishing that is well suited to this year’s offense. So far this season, the perimeter players have been the top scorers. That’s OK, but diversity is critical for this team’s success, and a Diana Taurasi type of versatile scorer may be just what this team needs.

So what past Stanford player comes to mind as a role model for what McPhee could become? Would it be a fellow Oregonian like Lindsey Yamasaki (a versatile small forward who could score in lots of ways), or a journeyman versatile multi-position Oregon hustler like Jillian Harmon? If I were forced to pick, I’d say Lindsey Yamasaki. The truth is, Brittany McPhee is different than either of them. She’s potentially a better outside shooter than Yamasaki (who divided her time with volleyball) and, although not as strong or tall as Harmon, more of a natural scorer. Brittany can write her own ticket.

Brittany McPhee may not be the best freshman on this team. Kaylee Johnson has already set a high mark difficult to equal. McPhee has yet to prove herself as a defender, as an assist maker, and as a go-to player against tough opponents. But the potential for McPhee is exciting. Watching her perform against UCSB, it’s difficult to see how the coaches can keep her on the bench (they didn’t, she played 22 minutes, more than any other player). I hope she seizes the day.

Happy New Year Brittany!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great observations. It'll be fun to watch how the potential of this Washington state native develops.