36 VYE FOR THE CHANCE TO GO TO JAPAN
The best and brightest of the NCAA Women's College basketball world have convened in Colorado Springs for five days of tryouts, practice and competition to determine who the 12 players representing the USA will be in the round-robin tournaments that will be held in Japan from Aug. 12th-15th against Australia, Canada and Japan.
The University of Louisville is one of the 22 universities that have player(s) involved in the tryouts. Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen will compete for the roster and their coach, Jeff Walz, is the head coach of the squad. Walz will not be one the official squad-picking committee...that's made up of six different coaches and people representing USA basketball...but he was on hand last night to hear lead clinician of the tryouts Geno Auriemma address the hopefuls. Although Walz isn't quite sure how the committee will divide the players into the four-team groups that will compete against each other for several days...he did have this to say about Geno's presence in the process:
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Geno had some very straight-forward words for the participants last night, including:
"I'm not saying you're going to become an Olympian...but I'm not here to say that you won't either..."
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A training camp designed for the individual to get better. A chance to compare yourself with the top names in college women's basketball. A chance to travel internationally and compete against three other very viable and talented programs from other countries.
We'll watch with interest on how this all shakes out with the University of Louisville girls...as well as former Card Mariya Moore, Ownesboro native Greenwell and Elizabethtown, KY's Erin Boley...who are also in Colorado Springs. A run down of the roster is truly impressive...11 girls that the Cards played against in the 2016-17 season are in-camp. Seven players Walz was with in Russian back in 2015 are also participating.
Jeff Walz, Michelle Clark-Heard and Courtney Banghart will be presented with a roster that most WNBA franchises would be proud to enter in competition. Their job will be to mold them into a unit, yes, but just as importantly...to guide them in exploring their capabilities and learn about leadership. Jen Rizzotti, Wes Moore, Kara Lawson-Barling, Karen Aston and Tonya Cardoza...all pretty good basketball minds themselves... have the task of selecting the 12. I'd be surprised if they didn't consult closely with Walz and his staff...plus Geno...on the final squad, but we can't say with any certainty that they will. Separation of church and state scenario possibly at work here...it will be a great question to pose to Walz later this year, I'm thinking. Or, maybe just another thing for him to gripe at me about...the stakes are high when you're an independent and senile site-owner/editor dealing with a mad scientist.
The bronze and gold medal of the training camp will be streamed live from the USA Training facility on August 4th. at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. (MST) on usab.com and the final squad is expected to be announced later that Friday.
Good luck to our Cardinals and in-state players!
NICE TO BE BACK ON THE PAGES...
A few of you may have noticed that Jeff, Case and Jared have been doing the columns for the last 11 days here at the website. (Or maybe you didn't...I am that inconspicuous, perhaps). A big thanks to them for carry the Cardinal Couple torch onward while Paulie took a much-needed and greatly enjoyed vacation far away from the UofL sports world. The guys did a wonderful job and it is my opinion that we've assembled the best darn writing staff here for coverage of UofL sports on the Internet.
Sometimes a renew, refresh and rejuvenation is needed. That, combined with the chance to step up my on-going physical rehab therapy after my hip replacement, was most welcome and I come back to this site and these pages ready and raring to go as our fall sports campaign draws closer. I'm walking really good these days. I can't express to you adequately, I suppose, just how important that is to me. Thanks for the calls, messages and encouragement. They served as motivation to stay on task. Let's go !!!
We have a fun August planned for you here at these pages and on THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR Saturdays on WCHQ 100.9 FM. We've been having full studios for the radio show and that will continue...with several backups lined-up in case one of our starting foursome has a conflicting event on Saturday. We'll continue the "catching up" segments as as well...and the weekly quizzes...which some of you think are the best features of our broadcasts. Our last "catch-up" with Tia Gibbs was fantastic and is available for listening at the Crescent Hill Radio archives...as well as here at the site. We're waiting for someone to step up and defeat the "Worldwide" dominance of Jeff in the quizzes.
Check the gear, warm up and stretch and get your mind and attitude "right"...fall sports are right around the corner and we'll go to battle in them together here at the Couple.