Novell Thomas, the head coach of the Brandon University Bobcats women’s basketball team, is engulfed in recruiting right now, but one of next season’s impact players may already be in Brandon.
Aleah Bridges joined the squad as a redshirt player after the Christmas break from Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif., and likes Brandon so much that she’s committed to staying in Brandon and playing with the Bobcats next season. Thomas believes the 5-foot-5 point guard will greatly improve his team next season when she hits the hardwood.
“I think she’s one of the pieces that will help us get to the next level,” he said. “She changes the way that we’ll play. I think we’ll be able to play a little bit faster. She’s a true point guard. She may not fill the stats sheet, but I think she’ll be able to get the ball in the hands of the scorers where they need to receive the ball.”
Bridges’ ball-handling skills and vision should help the Bobcats deal with pressure defences and lead to fewer turnovers overall.
Bridges, who needs to complete this semester to become academically eligible next season, just wants a chance to play basketball again.
She finished her two years at junior college and thought her playing days were behind her until her coach told her that Brandon was looking for players. She decided to continue her education in Brandon and loves the community.
Now she’s focused on working on a degree and helping turn around a Bobcat team that hasn’t won a game in three seasons.
“I’m excited to play next year,” she said. “The girls are really exciting. My coach is amazing. I really like the environment. I’ve never been in the snow. I’m from California. It’s a lot different, but it’s actually not that bad.”