Senior center Cameron Brink boasts an array of noteworthy qualities: she’s the child of two college basketball players, she’s got a perfect build for snatching rebounds and blocking her opponents and she even boasts a connection with Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry.
She’s also racked up some notable accomplishments in her college career, including a 2021 NCAA championship, three Pac-12 championships and a WBCA Defensive Player of the Year. Off the court, Brink became the first women’s basketball player to sign a deal with New Balance.
In short, Brink’s accolades have no limit. But they all pale in comparison to her competitiveness and tireless work ethic.
Brink’s mentality is a fundamental aspect of how she plays. “I always have a chip on my shoulder, and I don’t know why. It’s just how I am, but I feel like that’s what makes me the player I am,” Brink said.
During her childhood, Brink actually resisted playing basketball, choosing to focus on art instead. But after being convinced to attend a basketball camp for one day, she noticed how far behind she was in comparison to her peers, many of whom had been playing the sport for years. She needed to be better than them, and that’s what started her basketball career.
This drive only grew as she entered high school. “While she was gifted with amazing athleticism, the time she put in the gym and desire to improve is what made her so special as a player,” said
Michael Bergmann, her high school coach. “She was very competitive and was unique in the fact that while she was the longest player on the floor, she wanted to improve her versatility as an all around player.”
Brink’s grit is the main driving force behind her successes both on and off the court. “She’s a real special talent and a fearless competitor. Being competitive means you’re willing to do the work to win — all the little things,” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer.
It’s those little things that Brink has learned from not only VanDerveer but also two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry. While her relationship with Curry has received significant attention, what the Warriors guard has truly shown her is the day-to-day grind of being a top athlete.
“What I’ve gained from him is really seeing how a pro works day in and day out, how much work you have to put in to go to the next level,” Brink said. “It’s the work that’s not sexy — like going in everyday, lifting, cardio — all that extra stuff is what really makes a difference.”
One of the ways in which Brink’s competitiveness and on-court success has been rewarded is through a slew of name, image, likeness (NIL) deals, making her one of the faces of major companies like New Balance. According to Brink, the NIL deals “come naturally,” but she recognizes the great value in these deals.
“I’m very thankful and humbled by it,” Brink said.
Despite Brink’s many triumphs, there have also been losses. She attributes her ability to handle adversity to those she is surrounded by.
“It all boils down to my support system. I’m really lucky to have my family and my teammates. Everybody’s just really supportive of what I do,” Brink said.
Brink’s mixture of a healthy support system and a recognition of her value has allowed her to keep going when faced with adversity, and her resilience has led to even more success.
“Also, [what helps is] knowing that I’m not solely a basketball player. I’m a student, I do other things …[Basketball] doesn’t determine my whole value,” Brink said.
Entering her senior year at Stanford, Brink has already been selected to the Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference Team, the Associated Press Preseason All-America team and the Lisa Leslie Award Preseason Watchlist.
Despite the accolades and the projections on her professional career, the 6’5″ senior is focused on “having fun [her] senior year, [her] last year” and “making the most of what we have our last year in the Pac-12.”
As one of the only returning players on the team with significant playing experience, Brink will also be tasked with leading the team off the court.
“Cam is embracing an even bigger role this season. We’ll certainly be looking to her on the floor for her production and for her leadership on and off the court as one of the best players in the country,” VanDerveer said.