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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Louisville women's basketball -- The recruiting game is played on many levels -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


I don't take a lot of stock in a promising high school player announcing that a particular college or university is in their final three or four list. For years here at CARDINAL COUPLE, we went by the philosophy that "a player is going to go where they are most comfortable...and if and when they arrive, we'll start to notice them." 

If they choose Louisville, we're happy to have them and hope they do well, last 4-5 years and have a great college experience. If not, that's the way it is. Coach Walz has said in the past and if you were to ask him today, he'd tell you that he wants players who want to be here....or in similar words. 

That's not to say we haven't watched with interest in the past. I've talked to former and current Cardinal WBB greats before they arrived on campus but approached it from purely a generalized interested in what they are interested in. I've talked to some players who didn't end up at Louisville. I've posed questions about favorite movie starts, cars and comfort foods to prospective players and had fun doing it. 

I've called players mom's and dad's and asked permission to speak with them. All from a human interest standpoint. Once you get past the numbers...the points scored, rebounds grabbed, assists created and such...there is a living, breathing human being there. Someone who has likes, emotions, feelings and thoughts. 

I get asked about players and recruits a lot.

"Do you think [this girl] will end up at UofL?". "Why did [that girl] go there? Why is Louisville after [so-and-so]? Why isn't [name your player] playing more? I

 'm not the one to answer these types of questions and I can also tell you that I have no idea or clue, usually. I'm not there during the decision process, the talks with family, friends, mentors and coaches. I can speculate like most of you do. I choose not to for the most part. I leave recruiting alone, assured and trustful that those who do it for a living and understand the game, the process....full well know what they're doing, who they are targeting and why they are in pursuit. I leave playing time issues alone as well. (Like I know better than the coaches? I think not...) 

I've heard from various sources that the Cards want Zia Cooke and Breanna Beal out of the 2019 class also. If that's who the coaches want, I hope they get what they desire. I like Cooke's game. I don't know much about Beal but she sounds like a great one. 

Recruiting is a "who, what, where, when, why and how" process. Social media, more than ever, allows people to know so much about prospective players and their thoughts. I recently saw a tweet from Bree Hall. She's a 2021 target for Louisville and a whole bunch of other schools. 

Bree Hall ✨ ‏ @breezyhalll 22h22 hours ago More Thank you to the coaches of the University of Louisville WBB for an amazing unofficial visit 🤩! I really enjoyed being there 😎! #GoCards #GoCardinals ❤️!

The things I first thought of were...I'm glad she had a nice time on her visit. It's always nice to read about someone enjoying going somewhere. Then, I considered, she's a sophomore in high school. A whole lot is going to go on in her life before she moves on to college, Finally, I made a mental note to check out her stats and where's she's from. 

I'm glad she liked our city, the UofL campus and the coaches. I like them, too ,and I'm proud of what my city is (for the most part) and what the Louisville coaches have done. 

So, here's what I know about current recruiting. Louisville has three players in the 2019 class who have indicated they'd like to come to Louisville, so far, and given verbals. Here's also some questions I have. From purely Paulie perspectives. 

NYAH GREEN is a 6'1" guard from Allen High School in Texas. She's highly ranked in all the recruiting services. She's been a Louisville commit for quite some time. I hope she does well here. I wonder if she plays any musical instruments? Does she have regular study habits? Are her parents and family in love with the city like she is? Does she binge watch things on Netflix? All things we'll hopefully get to know about her as she pursues the college experience. 

RAMANI PARKER is a 6'4" forward from Montverde Academy in Florida. The staff at Louisville can't talk about her, but she has verballed. I wonder if she gets those "Oh, there is a tall girl" stares when she goes about in public and how she deals with them if she does? Has she any pets and what are their names?  How will she adjust to the sometimes bitterly cold Louisville winters and has she ever thrown a snowball?  Does she like to plant seeds and watch them grow into flowers?  Will she hang out at the newly renovated S.A.C. with her teammates? 

NAKIRA KONNO is a 5'10" guard from Seiwa Gakuen High School in Japan. Not much is known about her, except that she's played on the Japanese U 18, U 23 and 3x3 teams and played quite well. I wonder if her parents will try to learn English like she did, or whether Jeff Walz will have Sam Purcell learn Japanese to better communicate with her. I wonder if she's ever seen a Seinfeld episode and what she things of Kramer if she has?  How will she adjust to American food and dining habits? What will she choose as a major and will she go watch softball and lacrosse when she has free time? 

Many tend to look at players purely from a stat level and competitive nature. Let's turn that around. How would you like your life to be summarized in that fashion? 

"Let's see...Harold woke up and went to the bathroom with a smooth, full-out stride and finished well near the sink. His crossover toothbrush move was impressive and he communicates well with toothpaste in his mouth. Possesses great coffee-making skills and excels at getting the exact and right amount of creamer and sugar in his cup. Needs to work on turning off lights when he leaves a room and finishing the bowl of cereal he started. Son of a butcher and candle-stick maker. Has three brothers...Moe, Larry and Curly. Plans on hitting his boss up for the open Underwater Bicycling supervisor position at work. Doesn't like beets in a salad. His Uncle once crossed the street in the pouring rain and without an umbrella. Voted for Trump and thinks puppies are cute"

We get to know things about student-athletes as they progress toward their degrees. Sometimes, the knowledge is sad. Sometimes enlightening. Sometimes revealing and sometimes surprising. Let's remember this: They are student-athletes. I hope they enjoy their college experience like I enjoyed mine. (OK, maybe not in the way I did...) 

Recruiting is a game. A game of chess. Of Clue. Of Blackjack and Monopoly. Some play the game, some prefer to watch. It's jockeying for high schoolers who you want to consider an education at your school and participate in an activity in your athletic department. An activity that also serves as entertainment for the community. Ultimately, coaches are judged on how well they recruit and how well their squads do. Coaches lose jobs, change jobs.  People want winners. Look at all the current Petrino debate out there. One thing we have to remember, most of all, though:  

It isn't life-and-death. It's a game. 


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  1. Nice perspective today Paulie. I'll adopt your and Walz's philosophy. If they want to be here, that's what I want. I guess we all want to know and get our hopes up but sometimes it can end in a bust. Remember Mercedes Russell?

    Curtis "Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen" Franklin

  2. This Vince Tyra is a moron. Placing blame on fans for recruiting is flat out WRONG. Fans pay hard-earned money to watch the team. Want fans in seats? Give them something to watch. Or you can retain Petrino and see attendance get even worse.

    Nobody ever made their final decision to attend a school because of fans. Uh, Vince, how about coach, record, conference and faciity?

    Can you imagine someone telling Walz. "Well, you're great, love where you play, the ACC, facility, your success, but that guy in section 105 always leaves early and is rough on the officials. I'm passing on coming to your school."

    Wake up, Vince. You need a basic tutorial on recruiting and pbkic relations.

    Nick O.

    1. I can see where a fan base might have a small part in a student-athletes decision but not the main factor. When did Vince say this? Doesn't sound like Vince.


  3. Here you go:

    (From WLKY article)

    Second-year University of Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra is speaking out about poor attendance numbers at home football games.

    The school's announced attendance for Saturday's home game against Wake Forest was just over 49,000. However, by the third quarter of the blowout loss, a majority of Cardinal Stadium's 61,000 seats were empty.

    Tyra said the lack of support is hurting UofL's ability to recruit high-profile players.

    "Fans want to send a message to the program that, 'We don't like where we are.' And it's not going to improve if you're going to help us run off recruits," Tyra said. "We need fans there to show their loyalty, show their support and help us get these top recruits and be there."

    Nick O.

    1. I'm not sure you can read a whole lot into that statement. I know Vince and don't think he'd blame the fans for recruiting issues. I've heard of coaches who point to empty seats and tell recruits, "You're the personnwho can fill those seats."

      Don't see an issue here.


  4. You build a culture and you get student/athletes who can thrive in it. You prepare your kids for life after basketball. Some student/athletes don't get it and go elsewhere. A good coach never loses contact with his players. Players want to play and sometimes they go elsewhere to find that court time. You build a bond with players. Past, present and future. Walz is good at that. I know. I played for him. I can't speak for Petrino. I have heard he's not very approachable. I've heard Scott Davenport is one of the best at that and so are CD and CB over at Bellarmine. No name, please.

  5. Who are the two girls in the first picture of today's article? Future recruits?

    Blue Lou

    1. Why, that would be no other than Faith and Lexy Lake, who played for Coach Souder at Mercer County. Great kids, great players and are at Campbellsville University playing ball and furthering their student/athletic pursuits.



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