After four years in Squamish, Chilliwack’s Shayna Cameron is coming home.
The five-foot-nine Chilliwack secondary school grad will make the leap from PACWest college basketball to CIS when she suits up for the University of the Fraser Valley womens team this fall.
“I’ve always wanted to play at UFV, but I wasn’t ready for it when I first came out of high school,” Cameron said. “I wanted to go somewhere to develop my game, and now that I’ve won back to back provincial championships at the college level, I want to see how I can do at the CIS level.”
Cameron, a shooting guard, spent the last four seasons with the Quest Kermodes, helping turn that program into a powerhouse. During her tenure, the Kermodes made the playoffs for the first time in their existence.
Cameron and company won their first provincial title in 2013-14.
They went undefeated in PACWest play this year, rolling off 21 straight regular season wins.
Then came the second provincial crown.
“I think the first one was the sweetest because we’d never accomplished it before and we were so excited,” Cameron said. “We had to fight for every single game that year, which made it even better.”
“Looking back it on now, my teammates and I left a legacy there, created history and helped build a program.”
Cameron was in the middle of everything as the team’s top player, earning tons of individual accolades.
Four times last season she was the PACWest player of the week, and most recently she was named Basketball BC’s Female College Athlete of the Year.
She leaves Quest as the Kermodes’ all-time leading scorer. The school is in the process of creating a record book, and her name will be all over it.
“It was an amazing experience and Quest really helped me develop as a person and an athlete,” she said. “(Kermodes head coach) Dany Charlery put in so much time with me, and that’s why I’m as good as I am today.”
“I don’t play basketball to get those records, and I know someone will come along and break them,” she continued. “But it might be cool to look back in 10 years and have something good to reminisce about.”
Cameron and UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer have had annual conversations about her playing for UFV, every time she comes home for the summer.
A graduate of the Junior Cascades program, Cameron holds the Cascade bench boss in high regard, and when she thought she might be ready for the CIS jump she shot him an email.
“I had a couple CIS offers and I emailed Al around Christmas time to tell him my situation and ask if there was a spot for me on his team,” she explained. “A lot of coaches wouldn’t want to take a player with just one year of eligibility, but Al knows who I am, he’s seen me develop and he saw me as a fit.”
Cameron also drew interest from the University of Northern BC (Prince George) and the University of New Brunswick. UNB was a serious consideration.
Proximity to home was obviously a huge draw and another was ease of transition. Though she’s switching schools and teams, Cameron knows many girls she’ll be playing with and against next season.
“But the thing that tipped things to me wanting to stay here was Al, and the opportunity to play for such an amazing well-rounded coach,” she explained. “I would say he’s intense, that’s for sure. He really pushes you to the limit, and that’s what I look for in a coach.”
One of Cameron’s former coaches isn’t one bit surprised at what she’s accomplished.
Cameron is one of many players Joe Ogmundson has sent on from CSS — a list that includes Sarah and Nicole Wierks, Courtney Bartel, Alexa McCarthy and others.
“I could write an entire piece on Shayna, another dedicated (AD) Rundle kid who refused to be defined by anybody but herself,” the Hall of Fame coach said Tuesday. “With a smooth jump shot and deft touch, Shayna showed early that she was a scorer. She is so coachable, so appreciative of help and opportunity and so very deserving of her success.”
What Cameron’s done at the college level isn’t guaranteed to transfer to CIS, at least not without some bumps.
One thing that seems certain is she’ll give Tuchscherer everything she’s got, and be available every night.
Not once in her Kermode career did she miss a game.
“It takes consistency and working your butt off night in and night out,” she said. “I’m upping my training a bit now and I’ve played against CIS teams in exhibition games and done quite well. And I know Al and the girls will prepare me quite well during the summer and preseason.”