Cardinals Aim to Make Team
While the men's basketball team is producing practice results leading to Rick Pitino grading players on a 1-5 scale (with +/-) instead of an A-F scale, the core of the women's basketball team is gearing up for a different challenge completely. I don't quite have the insider information that you may be accustomed to when reading about basketball on this site, but I can at least offer my thoughts on the matter.
Jeff Walz, Asia Durr, and Myisha Hines-Allen are on their way to (if not already in) Colorado Springs, Colorado for the U-23 USA Women's National Team selection trials. This type of thing is something fans in the area should be accustomed to, as Jeff Walz has been an assistant coach in these situations before and both John Calipari and Rick Pitino have had their hand in coaching national teams. However, this is new land for the USA in terms of team structure. This year's iteration of the U-23 Women's Team will be the first the US has fielded. All 40 players reporting for tryouts must be under 23 (obviously), a US citizen, and be a freshman, sophomore, or junior in college. There is no room, apparently, on this team for stud high schoolers that may have dominated at the U-19 level.
After 40 attendees report on July 31st, the roster will be trimmed to 12 by August 4th. The short international exhibition tournament will get underway on August 12th in Tokyo, Japan. Assuming that both players make this team, Louisville will lose its core for approximately a month. That said, the assistant coaches will be working tirelessly with the team members remaining on campus to ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming season. These members of the team out on the road will be staying in shape and gaining invaluable experience with other great players from around the country and Jeff Walz will be making wonderful connections with the USA Basketball organization as well as other coaches and players.
Many people have mixed feelings about coaches and players being absent so close to the season, and that is completely understandable. However, I am firmly on the side that these kind of experiences are important for the players and coaches as people, not only as professionals. In the professional sense, the players and coaches selected for these assignments are being honored by their peers and higher-ups for outstanding work. As people, they will receive the experiences of a lifetime travelling with like minds to be introduced to new places and new cultures. I wish Asia and Myisha the best of luck during tryouts and wish Jeff Walz well in his new coaching endeavor.
Until next time, Go Cards!