Legans Takes Lead at Point Guard
Feb. 24, 2001
BERKELEY - Sophomore guard Shantay Legans arrived at the University of California and almost immediately got the call to be the starting point guard for the Bears. Legans realized that he would be stepping into the shoes of many great Golden Bear guards, such as Kevin Johnson and Jason Kidd. Legans understands his responsibility in upholding such a rich tradition, and knows that his role with Cal will provide inspiration and leadership for younger Bears to follow.
'I know that Cal has had some of the greatest guards to ever come out of college, and I hope my hard work and my commitment to this team can show that I want to help our team any way I can,' Legans said. 'It's not just running plays or throwing passes, it's making sure the guys understand that if they hustle and play hard, I'm going to get them the ball.'
More often than not, it is Legans who will receive the ball after a skip pass or a kick-out from the post, and knocking down those shots has been a testament to Legans' continued effort to get better.
'I knew I had to get better even before I came to Cal,' Legans said. 'I really worked on my three-point shot and on my free throws everyday in the summer of my junior year of high school. When I knew I was going to go to Cal, I got into the gym everyday in the summer and tried to get better. That was a big turning point for me.'
With almost two full seasons under his belt, Legans already realizes that he is part of something special, and his enthusiasm for the future of the Cal program is extremely high.
'We have a great recruiting class coming in next year, and that's going to help out a lot,' Legans said. 'Cal's been getting noticed a lot more because we're playing well right now. By playing hard and getting better, our team is going to see great things in the future, but that all starts right now.'
This young Cal program will lose a great leader at the end of this year in senior forward Sean Lampley. However, Legans is optimistic, knowing that the bonds and friendships he has experienced will carry this team to success.
'Everybody on the team is good friends and we're a really close-knit group of guys,' Legans said. 'I've never been a part of a team where everyone on the team was best friends. It really helps out a lot because when you criticize someone or get mad, your teammates understand where you're coming from. The closer we are as friends, the easier it is to develop and grow as a program.'
Sharing such special bonds with his teammates, Legans wants to lead by example and push himself to get better. He sets goals and standards that he wants to accomplish and lets his actions motivate others to follow.
'My goal is to focus and work hard everyday in practice,' Legans said. 'I also want to lead the Pac-10 in certain categories, like assists, steals and free throw percentage. I know I can get it done if I pay attention to details and use every second I have on the court to get better.'
Although not yet at the top, Legans does find himself among the Pac-10 leaders in several categories. He is fourth in assists (4.54 apg), seventh in steals (1.42 spg), ninth in free throw percentage (79.7%) and second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.32-1).
'Everything about Cal is number one,' Legans said. 'Coming out of high school, I knew I was going to the best school in the country. Not only is Cal one of the best programs academically, but it also has one of the best coaching staffs in the country. Each coach is here to help the team get better, and they work harder than most people I know.'
One of the most dedicated coaches in Legans' life is his mother, Susan, who is often the first fan to arrive on game days at Haas Pavilion.
'My mom hasn't missed any home game or any game that we've played in California since I've been at Cal,' Legans said. 'My brothers make the games when they can, but my mom has been really supportive. She loves watching me play as much as I love playing. I feel comfortable when she's in the crowd.'
And Legans hopes he can extend that comfort level to his teammates from his point guard position.
By Cassidy Raher