Spring sports awards: Best newcomer

Marcus Gedai/Staff

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Best Newcomer: Brittany Boyd

Once in a while, a freshman comes along to become the star of their team. Few have overhauled their team like guard Brittany Boyd.

Boyd’s explosiveness and flair have redefined the Cal women’s basketball team. The freshman from Berkeley High School brought the speed and the ball control to lead first-year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb’s fast-paced transition basketball. With Boyd pacing the team, Cal finished the season with a 25-10 record.

In her first season with the Bears, Boyd produced a bounty of indelible memories for fans. Against No. 2 Stanford at Maples Pavilion, Boyd frustrated the Cardinal with her ability to score layups at will; her team-high 19 points helped Cal close a 14-point deficit late in the second half to send the game into overtime.

In the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Iowa, Boyd shined in the biggest game of her young collegiate career. Boyd recorded a near-perfect game with 15 points, six rebounds, eight assists and six steals. Her playmaking ability and her stifling defensive pressure against the Hawkeye guards was the key to the Bears’ 84-74 win.

As a hometown hero, Boyd is already a Berkeley favorite. Already the face of the program, Boyd has constantly wowed the Haas Pavilion crowd with her trick plays and blazing speed.

With still much room to grow to become one of the elite guards in the nation, few players at Cal mean more to their program’s future success than Brittany Boyd.

— Seung Y. Lee

Honorable Mention: Michael Kim

Michael Kim has helped the Cal mens golf team win a school-record four tournaments in his freshman year. (John Todd/GoldenBearSports.com/Courtesy)

If Michael Kim has had any trouble adjusting to collegiate competition, he hasn’t showed it. The freshman golfer has been chosen to compete over upperclassmen all year.  Even more impressive, Kim has settled into the No. 3 spot behind Brandon Hagy and Max Homa.

When Kim was lost to an injury for two weeks, the team struggled. When he returned, the team won its fourth tournament of the year, making this season’s team the winningest in school history.

Kim is only a freshman, but he has already made a huge impact on the Cal men’s golf team. His ability to improve should be a scary prospect for other teams, but it just builds excitement for the Bears in the future.

— Warren Laufer