SOUTH BELOIT—College recruiting these days is a funny business.
With on-campus visits completely off the table, athletic departments are getting creative in how they showcase their wares to potential players.
Shian Galbreath is living proof on how these pitches can be quite effective.
The South Beloit High School graduate via Sauk Valley Community College decided to commit to NAIA St. Mary’s (Kansas) after seeing the school on a virtual tour.
“It was really cool what they put together,” Galbreath said. “There was a video and then there was this virtual tour that had all the athletic facilities on it. When I saw it, I just fell in love with the campus. And they put me in touch with the professor that’s in charge of my major (sports management) and I was excited about everything he had to say.”
The wonders of technology.
Galbreath’s journey to the Leavenworth, Kan., campus has hardly been a smooth ride.
Galbreath was a four-year varsity standout at South Beloit, scoring well over 1,000 career points and earning all-area honors on multiple occasions.
However, her final three years featured her as a one-player show, and the SoBos struggled to win more than a few games each year.
Galbreath attended NJCAA Division I Sauk Valley for what turned out to be a three-year stint.
After averaging 5.7 points per game in a solid freshman season, Galbreath suffered a significant setback in the form of a torn ACL.
“There were definitely a few times where I was just over it,” Galbreath said. “But my brother Tonka really drove me. He became my trainer and even though we butted heads a lot, he kept me motivated to get back on the court.”
After redshirting her sophomore season, Galbreath came back and enjoyed a solid campaign this year, averaging 8.4 points per game.
“I wasn’t always happy with the way I was playing,” Galbreath said. “But I have to understand that I was coming back faster than most players and overall, I had a pretty good year.”
Galbreath benefitted from the addition of a new coach, former European professional player Jamie Russell.
“She helped me so much,” Galbreath said. “Not only with knowledge of the game, but she tore her ACL twice, so she knew exactly what I was going for. She knew how much my body could take, and at times how painful it was.”
While Sauk Valley didn’t enjoy overwhelming success, Galbreath was able to enjoy the victories when they came.
“It was really tough in South Beloit as far as the record went,” Galbreath said. “When I got to Sauk Valley, I saw right away how good the other players were and how they shared my passion for the game. I knew right away I wasn’t going to just be winning two games per year.”
An early-season tournament in St. Louis brought Galbreath to St. Mary’s attention.
“They started recruiting me a while after that,” Galbreath said. “I talked to the assistant coach for about an hour, and I had a video meeting with the head coach. Everything from them was really positive.”
The St. Mary’s coaching staff is in just its second season, and has told Galbreath to be ready to assume a large role in the team’s plan.
That was music to the South Beloit native’s ears.