Sparks to increase Cameron Brink’s perimeter role

Senior forward Cameron Brink spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon — her first press conference since the 2024 WNBA Draft, where she was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks with the No. 2 overall pick. 

During the call, Brink expressed her enthusiasm about playing under Sparks head coach Curt Miller, especially since it presents an opportunity to learn from a new coach. According to Brink, Miller coaches with a different approach than former Stanford women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer.

“I love to learn from all different types of coaches, all different styles of play, so I’m just really excited for his advice,” Brink said.

The six-foot-four center expects to play more on the perimeter in her professional career than during college. 

“Tara is very much a low block coach and I think Kurt allows his bigs to be a little more versatile,” Brink said. “He did say if I need to bring the ball up the floor, he wants me to bring the ball up. I think I’ll set a lot of ball screens, and have more opportunities to short roll and pop.”

During Brink’s tenure at Stanford, VanDerveer employed a Princeton-style offense, which rarely placed Brink in positions to play on the perimeter. 

When asked about her decision to leave Stanford and enter the WNBA draft, Brink called it “a really difficult decision.”

But Brink raised several reasons why her decision to close her college career and turn pro was “the right one,” including former head coach Tara VanDerveer’s retirement amid Stanford’s upcoming transition to the ACC.

For the Sparks, Brink’s decision to enter the professional ranks was more than welcome. A day before the introductory press conference for draftees, Miller and general manager Raegan Pebly spoke to the media about draft-day reflections and why they selected Brink with the No. 2 pick.

For Miller, Brink filled critical team needs on the defensive side of the court. 

“We were near the bottom of the standings in overall rebounding and certainly rim protection, so that was a point of emphasis to continue to look at in this draft, and [I’m] really excited that we’ve added pieces that will help to that,” Miller said.

Brink acknowledged Miller’s experience in developing bigs, including former WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones, in his previous tenure with the Connecticut Sun. 

“I do know that he takes post players and takes them to places that they can’t get on their own,” Brink said.

Along with Brink, the Sparks also drafted Tennessee forward Rickea Jackson with the No. 4 overall pick and USC guard McKenzie Forbes in the third round, who Stanford fans recognize for scoring 26 points against the Cardinal in the Pac-12 championship game.

The three selections marked a successful draft night for the Sparks: “It felt like it’s going to be the foundation to our build,” Miller said. “Last night really felt like the start of what I came here to do, which was to build the Sparks back to a championship franchise that they’ve been.”

Brink is set to be the next great big for the LA Sparks, following a prestigious legacy left by Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and former Cardinals Nneka Ogwumike ‘12 and Chiney Ogwumike ‘14.

But for Brink, even the opportunity to play at the next level is a dream come true. 

“They’re all idols of mine, so I can only hope to do half of what they’ve done in their careers,” Brink said. “I’m just so excited to do what I love for a living.”