Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Welcome To Cardinal Arena -- Sydney Zambrotta...Practice Starts today for WBB -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
ZAMBROTTA A SCORER AND DEFENDER
(This is the seventh and last in a series of articles about the first-year players on the 2016-17 University of Louisville's women basketball team. Going in alphabetical order...Sydney Zambrotta is our final player to review)
Anytime an eighth-grader scores 63 points, in a varsity game, it'll catch your attention. Sydney Zambrotta not only did that but also lit up the scoreboard with 58 in a game a few weeks earlier.
Possessing a beautiful three point shot, scorers mentality, ability to drive to the hoop with success and excellent passing skills...Sydney is the type of combo-guard that coaches desire on their roster. College coaches also want to see a bit more than that, though. Can they create opportunities for their teammates? Can they consistently hit the mid-range jumper? Defense...is it a concept they've taken to heart and can produce at?
Jeff Walz has a simple, yet clear message to his players. You earn playing time by practicing hard 100% of the time. Zambrotta has that work ethic. In the college game, you cannot coast on defense, take a play off in the offensive set or wait for the action to come to you. You create wherever the team needs you to. Zambrotta has a very good knowledge of the game. It will fit in well with the Cardinal schematics.
Where does she fit in on this roster? The roster has eight guards listed. Four of them saw playing time for Walz last season. One played for four years at another school. That leaves three who have yet to prove themselves in ACC or DI action. We can see Zambrotta coming off the bench and delivering solid minutes for UofL. Getting past Durr, Carter, Jackson and Johnson in the rotation could be a challenge...but if her work ethic outshines those competing for those two sports....then she deserves the chance to display it on a regular basis.
With her outside shooting skills, she'd be a logical choice to come in and bust up a tight zone. If there are points that need to be acquired late in a close or trailing situation, the deep threat is a viable choice. We think Zambrotta will be that choice...maybe not as a starter, but one that Walz can count on to revive a sluggish offensive or change an opponent's defensive philosophy.
On a team that has incredible talent and a very deep roster, Zambrotta will also be a player that the chance to be an emotional leader on this squad. A key could be keeping her healthy...she's an aggressive player who has had a few pre-season dings and dents.
FIVE FUN FACTS ABOUT SYDNEY
1) For her final three years of high school hoops, she made a two-hour commute to attend Christ The King High School. From Long island to Middle Village. To put it in a local sense, it would be like travelling from Bowling Green, KY to play at a Louisville high school...in terms of time. It's also a concept for the remake of the popular 1987 movie Trains, Plains and Automobile that starred Steve Martin and John Candy...
2) She has a fear of sharks. (Don't we all?) Probably a good thing that she's headed inland for college and didn't choose Hawaii or Miami as a college destination.
3) She's had the same basketball trainer in Jerry Powell from Basketball Results since she was five years old. Talk about getting to know someone's game!
4) Sydney was a fan of the TV series "Friday Night Lights" (one of my favorites). "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose"
5) Her jersey number is #10. Starr Breedlove and LaToya Johnson were the two previous Cardinals to don it. She wore #11 in high school, the number Arica Carter wears for the Cards.
CARDINAL WBB PRACTICE BEGINS TODAY
It gets real starting at 1 p.m. this afternoon. The first official team practice for 2016-17 takes place at Cardinal Arena today.
We'll head down there and see what opportunities we have to watch and observe. Jeff Walz's practices are always open to the public and a great learning opportunity to see how "the mad scientist" works with his players on the fundamentals of the game.
We'll give you our insights and observations on what we saw in tomorrow's CARDINAL COUPLE column...plus preview a huge women's soccer match coming up Thursday night against NC State in Lynn Stadium.