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Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Cardinal Couple -- Campers learn "the Cardinal way" at Walz Camp


-Walz BBall camp teaches attendees "next level" skills. 

(Normally we would run a reader-submitted article this Friday but wanted to get this report on the Jeff Walz Elite Skills Camp to you A.S.A.P. WE do have a great reader article for you Saturday.) 

The 50 attendees at Jeff Walz's 2012 women's basketball Elite Clinic skills camp on Thursday, June 14th. got the word early.

Bria Smith on her way to teach the campers "next level" skills. 
"We're here to teach you what we teach our players. Focus and concentration. Every thing we do on the court, we do for each other." Walz told the group as they split up into individual drills to work on ball-handling, shooting, rebounding and passing skills. 

Shooting and dribbling were two of the many
areas covered and taught by the UofL staff and players.
Hustle, teamwork and close-up instruction were the order of the day. UofL WBB assistant coaches "Cam", "Sam"  and "Steph" were working non-stop with the players on drills and skills that are a part of the UofL daily practice routine. The Lady Cards were out there in force as well....Shoni and Bria demonstrating passing techniques, Asia and Shawnta working with front-liners on blocking out and interior passing styles...Sara, Sherrone...the whole team and staff teaching the campers the efforts, emotions and positive aspects of what it takes to play on "the next level" Even current UofL women's basketball radio analyst and former WNBA star Adrienne Johnson was teaching, dishing and coaching.   

The girls were eager and attentive learners. Whether it was "5-on-5-on-5" drills or free throw shooting, the campers were competitive and worked non-stop during the four hour camp. 

Morgan Turner prepares to run a drill.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to the grandparents of Meade County sophomore wing Morgan Turner for most of the afternoon. They were impressed with the way the camp was run and watched with excitement and interest as their grand-daughter shot, dribbled, played defense and battled on the boards. 

(She's going to be one to watch down the road. Remember the name.)  

Also there with me was CARDINAL COUPLE columnist Jenny O'Bryan. Although all the girls were hard-working and quite skilled at what they were doing....several stood out and caught our eye. 

Kiesler has a effective outside jumper in addition to
her paint skills. 
-- Ayanna Edwards travelled from Sacramento, CA for the camp. She's got the post skills to be a force for some lucky college program (yes...Louisville has already offered) and "Shaq" reminded me of a young Danielle Adams. She spent considerable time with the staff and Cardinal "bigs" working on interior moves. Look out for her...soft shot and a paint monster. She'll be a junior this fall. 

-- Nora Kiesler is a local player and a double threat for Assumption H.S. in hoops and volleyball. WE were impressed with her shooting and ability to mix it up on the boards. She's just a sophomore next year and you'll be hearing her name quite often the next three seasons. 

-- Morgan Turner will be a force for Meade County (KY) high school for the next three years as well. A wing that has a smooth outside shot and passes well...the colleges will be lining up for her services and she should be one of the elite in the 2015 recruiting class. 

-- Sabrina Haines travelled from Arizona for the camp. They may eventually put her picture next to Webster's Dictionary listing for "smooth". The soon-to-be sophomore has all the skills. Keep her name on your list of those to watch.

These are just four of the many participants that were turning heads and drawing praise from those of us watching. 

Cardinal front-liners discuss strategy before a drill
The four-hour time frame obviously isn't enough to rate and rank all the players but a conservative estimate is that at least half of the 50 campers in attendance will be at Division I programs down the road. 

One opinion, of course...but the group of young ladies on the hardwood at Cardinal Arena on Thursday afternoon truly fit the description "elite". 

Taking it all in with a watchful eye, encouraging advice and his usual wit and style was Coach Walz. 

"What will impress me in this drill and what I'm looking for is how well you do without the ball." Walz tells a group one moment. "Skill development is a year round process" Walz preaches to the next group. He constantly observes, suggests and teaches. 

Few do it better. 

The competition was intense under the rim
If you'd like to be a spectator at the next Elite Skills Camp, circle Thursday, June 28th. on your calender. More high-level talent will pound the Cardinal Arena hardwood and Mercedes Russell, the #1 prospect in the 2013 recruiting class, will be in attendance. Coach Walz would love to have 500 fans in attendance. Is it in you, Cardinal WBB fans? I guarantee you, you'll be entertained, impressed and amazed at the skill sets you'll see. 

For this Thursday, though...the talent level was truly elite and CARDINAL COUPLE will keep a close eye on the progress and careers of the young ladies today who displayed their abilities. We appreciate the chance to watch, observe and report on a group of girls that will be thrilling fans and frustrating opposing coaches for the next several years. 

"We like to get up and down the court here at Louisville" Coach Stephanie Norman informed the campers early in the activities. 

They believe, Coach Steph, they believe...and they did


Photo by Charlie Springer - UofL Card Game 
Get well soon wishes to Louisville guard Tia Gibbs who recently underwent successful hip operation surgery. She's confident she'll be back in the full swing of things by the time fall practice rolls around. 

Heal well and completely #25. Gotta have those Butler Bears representing! 



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great write-up, Paul! I'll be the there 28th to watch

    Blue Lou

    1. Matt and Lou, it runs from 1-5 p.m. on Thursday, June 28th. In Cardinal Arena, on the UofL campus at the corner of Floyd and Brandeis. Parking garage right next to the facility. See you there!


  3. Was Logan Powell there? How did she look?


    1. Powell is another of those talented Marion County (KY) High School players who has the chance to be a productive forward at the next level. Was impressed with her ability to go to the boards and overall hustle. She's not afraid to establish position in the paint and looked to be a pretty accurate shooter. (Just off the top of my head and from )0what I remember.) Feel she'll be a valuable contributor again for the MCHS squad. Having Goodin-Rogers and Epps on the team certainly won't hurt. She's another we'll be tracking.


  4. Hoping Tia is able to come back from the surgery and be a force for the Lady Cards. What is it with hip injuries and the Lady Cards? Haven't several of them had hip problems over the past few years? UofL is definitely a "hip" place to be. Sorry, bad pun.

    David "hipper than most" Watson

    1. LaToya Johnson and Nikki Burton come to mind, David, when hip injuries are present. Knees are probably a more common injury. Just off-hand, Tise Wright, Yuliya Tokova and Laura Terry come to mind as those who had careers cut short because of ACL's and such.

      Paulie "What is Hip?" the Fist.

  5. Looking forward to seeing everyone on the 28th. It would be good to wear your cardinal red so no one could later try to confuse the players about who came out to see them. You never know what particular show of support is the difference to a player making her future school choice It would be interesting to know how many attend open elite camps at other schools in support of potential future players but it is doubtful that anyone has the total package of Louisville.

    Go cards!

    S Walker


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