FORMER CARD LINDSEY DUVALL HAVING SUCCESS AT NKU
With Louisville WBB on a COVID pause, not much to report on the Cardinal crew these days -- so I thought I might do a "feel good" story this Monday. After all, it is the holiday season, we report on 'the joy and excitement' of things and the age-old philosophy of "once a Card, always a Card" carries credible veracity in a lot of circles.
Consider the story of Lindsey Duvall.
You remember "Lil Duv", right? She was a Miss Kentucky in GBB back in 2017. Decided on Louisville after originally thinking "maybe UK" announcing her desire to be a Cat but then changing her mind and committing to Louisville. A 5'8" shooting guard, ostensibly -- for Chris Stallings at Bullitt East High School, but mostly played as a "4" for the Mt. Washington school. A definitive three point threat and team player. Knee injuries, yes, they were a part of it as well. Six operations before she stepped on the court as a Cardinal. Having to sit out her freshman year because of knee trouble in 2017-18.
I always wondered how'd she perform on the DI level, given 25-30 minutes a game She never got that chance at Louisville, part of a very deep and talented roster that went 60-8 in the two years she did see action for the Cards, mostly in a reserve role. Duvall was good, no doubt about it, but others were better and the scenario eventually came to the question of deciding whether to be a reserve or a starter somewhere. College time is limited. Players want to be productive -- to play.
She chose to seek playing time elsewhere. She turned to NKU and Carmyn Whitaker, a coach she'd known since the seventh grade. In some circles, it's thought that when Whitaker left UK as an assistant coach to take the NKU head coaching job, that was the deciding factor for Duvall to switch commitments from UK to UofL. When Duvall went looking for a new school, Whitaker made no promises other that she'd be given a chance to earn playing time and try competition on a slightly less difficult and competitive level that the ACC. The Horizon League. A mid-major in the scheme of DI ball, but, a Kentucky university that has a loyal fan base, is less that two hours from her home and had six or seven players she was familiar with from those high school days.
She worked hard during the COVID summer, learned the system and she and her teammates began the season against an Ohio-based slate of schools in Cincinnati, Akron, Bowling Green and Ohio St. All on the road except for Bowling Green. All losses for NKU, but, Duvall a bright spot for the Norse in a reserve role -- with 11.25 points-per-game and nine rebounds in about 26 minutes a game. Nearly a double-double -- coming off the bench.
Whitaker consulted with another "newbie" -- assistant coach Anthony Epps. Yes, that Epps -- the UK star. He had coached against Duvall when he was at Campbellsville High School. He knew the talent within. They gave Duvall the start in the opener of Horizon League play -- against Pittsburgh-based Robert Morris, and Duvall responded with 21 points, four threes, 13 rebound in 27 minutes in a lopsided win for the Norse. If there were sightings and reportings of a new star in the sky over Highland Heights, KY -- it was probably Duvall's ascension into stardom.
The Horizon League is doing things a bit differently in 2020. (Aren't we all?) So far, they are pitting opponents against each other back-to-back on consecutive days. So, the next day, another NKU win and a 12-point effort from Duvall.
Saturday and Sunday found NKU at Purdue-Ft. Wayne, home of one of Cardinal Couple's favorite mascots -- Don the Mastodon. Lindsey found Fort Wayne to her liking, in the two NKU wins over "Don's Gang" -- she put up 38 points in her 56 minutes of time and shot 50% (6-12) from three-point range.
We are proud of her at Cardinal Couple. She remains one of my favorite interviews of a high school Cardinal prospect. Shoot,, I've even walked around Lindsey Duvall Park in Mt. Washington to get a little exercise.
For Lindsey, the second chance is paying big dividends. Sometimes...those second chances do. If Lil Duv is happy and productive in her new surroundings, then I'm happy for her. I can remember her high school coach, Chris Stallings, telling me that he'd never had a harder-working player in his coaching career. He said something to the effect of "you might beat her, but you'll never out-work her." That persistence of hard work is finally paying off for Lindsey. and NKU. And, it's a beautiful thing to see.
If anyone deserved a break, a second chance -- it's certainly been Lindsey,.. after all she's been through.
May the good days continue.