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Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Cardinal Couple -- Emmonnie Henderson at Adidas Showcase


-Jenny's report on The National Adidas Basketball Showcase

The National Adidas Basketball Showcase was in town this week and playing at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.  I decided to go out to KFEC on Tuesday and try to catch a game with Louisville recruit Emmonnie Henderson from Edwardsville, IL. 

Jenny's car...don't get behind her in traffic! 
I left work in the Highlands at 5:30 with game time around 5:45.  With evening drive time traffic, I thought this was a lost cause.  Luck, though... was on my side, as I was able to exit the highway and was heading in the front gate of KEC at 5:39.  As if my good fortune with traffic were not enough, the lovely lady working the sole open gate passed me through without making me stop to pay the $8 parking fee!  Could this get any better?   Yes, it could!  I pulled right in to a front row parking spot in front of the main entrance in to the event.  Always one to acknowledge good fortune, I felt as if my trip to the tourney was just meant to be.   Though, the real challenge had just begun. 

Have you ever been to an AAU tournament?  Well, I have not been to a basketball one, but I have spent many a hours in tourneys with my volleyball playing step-daughter.  So, I knew getting in the door was not even half the battle.  The brackets are near impossible to read, and then finding the court your team is supposed to be on takes a special skill set. 

This particular day the event was winding down and fortunately it was not jam packed with coaches, observers and teams.  The real battle started trying to read the brackets and determine what court Henderson’s team was actually playing on.    After wandering the South Wing for at least 15 minutes, I finally found my destination at  exactly the last court I scoured.   On another day, with typical traffic, paying $8 to get in and walking clear across two parking lots to the entrance I would have given up and gone home.  But, with all the good fortune of the day, it was only fitting that one piece of finding my destination gave me the fits.   Nevertheless, I was relieved to reach the court. 

While the court was not packed with coaches and observers, there were some standouts.  Coach Walz was on the sidelines as was head coach Sharon Versyp from Purdue.  I also saw Tennessee orange on the sidelines, but was unsure what assistant from Tennessee it was.  If coaching staffs from Kentucky or Miami (FL) were in attendance, I did not see them.  That is not to say they were not there, I just did not see them.   Cardinal players Megan Deines and Bria Smith were spotted in the stands taking in the action.  

On to the real reason I attended... to watch Henderson play.  The player who drew me to the event was an easy stand out.  One of the biggest kids on the court, her strength was evident in her big frame.  This past season she averaged 15.6 ppg and 8 rebounds per game.  I understand why.   Henderson was strong around the basket.  She was strong rebounding, and strong scoring around the basket. 

With her back to the basket, double-teamed, it was easy for her to create space and turn and shoot.   I saw three offensive sets of this nature (in the second half of play, because I wandered the South Wing for most of the first half looking for my destination) and every time she converted.  She took the ball through traffic and went hard converting and drawing the foul.  All of her offense was created around the basket.  I saw no mid-range game at all.  What she did do offensively, she did very well. 

For her size, she was surprisingly quick down the court.  Not the fastest kid on the court, but she did motor down court quicker than her size would indicate.   She was a strong rebounder as one would expect with her strength and size around the basket.    

Admittedly...not knowing how much she had already played during the day, she did seem to tire.  She was rested for a few minutes on the sidelines during the second half before returning and presumably fouling out in the last 30 seconds of the game.   She seems to have the strength and frame to do well in the Big East, but will need to condition well over the next year to prepare herself for the rigors of a paint player in the Big East.  The combined muscle mass of Sarah Hammond and Henderson would be a force... even in the physical Big East. 

As noted in my article on Wednesday, Louisville is one of 5 schools remaining on her list of choices.  At least 3 of the teams vying for her services were on the sidelines Tuesday.  In an interview in May...Henderson indicated she would make her decision before the end of the year.  I look for her to make her decision and sign in the early signing period in November.  

Keep it tuned here readers, for all the updates you need for Louisville Women’s Basketball.  

-- Great review and report on Emmonnie, Jenny! From a very reliable source who has seen her play several times:

"This girl is strength and her skill level continues to improve. If she was in the 2012 class, she'd be starting in the paint for the Cards. Combine her with Mercedes Russell in 2013 and Louisville will have the dominant paint presence in the BIG EAST.  She'll also be a four year champion in BIG EAST Shot Put and Discus." 

Impressive words.  Go get her, Coach Walz! 

1 comment:

  1. Emmonnie is throwing 48' in the shot and 160' in the discus, which won her the Illinois 3A high school titles and would have made her the second best thrower on the UofL team last season.

    You say she plays hoops also?



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