Before she stepped onto the practice court at Bridgewater-Raynham as a freshman of great promise, Shay Bollin already had multiple scholarship offers to play Division 1 college basketball, from schools in the Northeast and beyond. And she had absolutely treasured a trip to the elite camp at Duke University, courtesy of her parents, Tim and Laurie, which turned into an unofficial visit.
Yet, unfazed and humble, the 6-foot-3-inch Bollin first set out to engage with her new Trojan teammates.
“She viewed herself as just another member of the team, she never viewed herself as above anyone else,” recalled B-R coach Cheryl Seavey. “She merged seamlessly into the program, she adopted our core values . . . hard work, perseverance, commitment, and as talented as she is, she brought a tremendous work ethic. That stood out.”
The offers continued to flow (40 from D1 programs by the end of her sophomore year) as Bollin-buoyed Bridgewater-Raynham rang up a 42-5 mark the past two winters, a Division 1 South title, and a TD Garden appearance.
On Wednesday afternoon, ahead of what potentially could be a banner campaign for Bollin and B-R if the winter season is preserved, she announced her commitment to play college basketball at Duke — her “dream’ school” — for new coach Kara Lawson, the former Celtics assistant and Olympic gold medalist who starred for Pat Summitt at Tennessee. Lawson reached out shortly after she was hired in July.
“I could really see myself thriving playing for her," Bollin said Wednesday. “Not only is she going to be there for me these next four years when she’s coaching me, but she’s also going to be there for me for the rest of my life.”
She and Lawson also have a mutual link in former Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine, whose daughter, Elliana, is a member of the same Bay State Jaguars program as Bollin.
“I work with Scal every week and he’s always just helping me to develop my game,” she said. “He knows Kara well . . . so having that feedback from him and that advice was definitely helpful. But everyone in my life made it known to me that this was my decision.”
The No. 19 recruit for the Class of 2022 according to ESPN’s latest rankings, Bollin has scored 836 career points over two seasons.
With the length and strength to play the post, the vision to play the point, and the range to step out and drain a 3-pointer, Bollin averaged 18.8 points, 10 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.2 steals, and 2.5 blocks per game as a sophomore.
“Shay has that high level of intrinsic motivation to get better, and she wants to make her teammates better,” Seavey said. “When you have that buy-in, it leads to so many wonderful things.”
During the recruitment process, Seavey asked Bollin, ‘If you took basketball out of the equation, would you still attend that institution? Then put basketball back in, can you have a trusting relationship with the coach?'
“Kara Lawson, what a tremendous role model for young women . . . she checks all the boxes,” Seavey said. “This is a lifelong decision for Shay, having a degree from Duke University, endless possibilities, I am so proud of her.”
In August, Bollin won the annual “A Shot For Life” shooting competition by making 80.91 percent of her shots over a two-hour span to raise money for brain cancer research.
Her father played collegiately at Colgate, and her mother at Ithaca.
Correspondent Ethan Fuller also contributed to this story.
Craig Larson can be reached at email@example.com.