Often times, high school friends part ways as they head to different colleges or endeavors. However, senior Blair Shinoda and sophomore Molly Greubel are not only are attending the same school once again, but are also playing on the same basketball team.
The two guards once again pair up in the UC Davis backcourt after playing basketball together in high school. They both attended Foothill High School in Santa Ana, Calif., where they played one season together. That one season was a positive experience for both players as they forged a stronger bond over the course of the year.
“I had a really great freshman year. I was under the leadership of Blair, and I knew her going into that [season]. Our parents are good friends too,” Greubel said. “I worked out with her dad a few times getting ready for high school. Right when I got there, she was a great leader, very positive out on the court.”
Greubel’s and Shinoda’s combined efforts, in their lone season playing together in high school, helped their team achieve an impressive 30-2 season record.
Greubel added some scoring and rebounding depth on a very good Foothill team. As a freshman, she averaged 2.2 points and one rebound a game. Greubel’s and Shinoda’s relationship grew stronger during their lone high school season together.
“She was the only freshman and she played and contributed,” Shinoda said. “It was really fun getting to know her because I knew her always as a little kid, but now I saw just how hard she worked and her work ethic.”
Shinoda was a key factor in Foothill’s offensive and defensive game plan. She averaged 9.8 points and 5.9 assists on the offensive end of the court. What was even more remarkable about her play was that she also averaged two steals and 1.1 blocks a game. She truly exemplified the model of a two-way player.
Both Shinoda and Greubel left high school in historic fashion. Shinoda left Foothill as the all-time leader in career assists, sixth in steals and third in blocks. Greubel also finished high school with some impressive career stats. She was fourth in three-point shots made, fifth in career free-throw percentage and total points scored.
As both players left their illustrious high school careers behind, they faced a new, more difficult challenge: college basketball. However, Shinoda and Greubel made the transition smoothly and are key players on the Aggies’ squad.
The Aggies almost missed out on signing Shinoda, who is seventh in the conference in assists, averaging 3.1 per game, and fourth in steals, with 1.9 per game. Her choice to play at UC Davis was an interesting decision, as she did not seriously consider UC Davis in the beginning of her recruitment. Luckily, she fell in love with Davis during her visit, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“It was pretty random because I had never been up here at Davis. But when I came up here for my unofficial visit, I loved the atmosphere, the college town, especially when I met the coaches,” Shinoda said.
The Aggies are sure glad that she did, as Shinoda’s decision was a critical factor in the recruitment of Greubel as well. Greubel as a freshman is currently third on the Aggies in scoring with 6.1 points a game.
“Blair had a huge impact on me going [to UC Davis], indirectly. In fact, I would go just to watch her play sometimes and I really liked the style that the team played and I really liked the coaching staff,” Greubel said. “It was never really in my mind that I wanted to play at Davis until a lot later on in the process. I ended up coming up to visit Blair over a weekend and got to know the girls and the team; loved them. The coaches were phenomenal.”
The duo of Shinoda and Greubel have had great success in their playing experiences — first, having a phenomenal high school season, and now playing together as two key members of UC Davis’ women’s basketball team.
As Shinoda’s final season as an Aggie wraps up, the Aggies are hoping for a little more of the Shinoda-Greubel magic as they head into the conference playoffs.
KENNETH LING can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.