2018 LOUISVILLE WBB VERBAL AVERAGING 22.6 PPG EARLY FOR MERCER COUNTY.
( Some of the information and some of the photos for the article are courtesy of Jeremy Schneider of the Advocate Messenger - Danville, KY. Nice work, Jeremy! )
"We're nowhere near where we need to be and could be. We will get better and that's scary. The sky's the limit, but it's going to get pretty tough" Souder commented after his squads' 90-54 win over Danville Monday night.
For Danville, it may have felt like the sky was falling...Souder's Titans jumped out to a 26-12 first period lead and advanced that to 45-25 at the halftime break.
Helping lead the charge was 5'9" junior guard Seygan Robins...who poured in three trifectas and 13 of her 26 points in the opening stanza. Robins and her Titans have had three contests in the young season. After a 76-65 close loss vs. D-1 laden Hamilton Heights (TN) Christian Academy, the Titans have won their next two...downing Mason County 78-51 in addition to Danville.
Just how tough and talented is Hamilton Heights? Four of their 2017 players have already committed to D-I programs -- (Nickeil Alexander-Walker to Virginia Tech, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Kentucky, Amber Hunt to Alabama St. and Therren Shelton-Szmidt to Middle Tennessee.) A fifth star, junior Elizabeth Balogun, is on the list of many of the top DI programs...including Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana.
Robins is averaging 22.6 ppg so far this season and is a key component in Mercer's stifling defense...that can go from zone to man and not lose anything. She's also one of the main bombardiers from the stratosphere on a squad that also includes twins Faith and Lexy Lake (committed to Southeast Missouri) and 6'1" forward Emmy Souder...who is Coach Souder's niece...as is Robins.
Keeping it in the family has worked over the last couple of seasons for "Uncle Chris" and Robins started catching schools' eyes and attention as a seventh-grader. Her choice came down to either Louisville or Kentucky and she was clear on why she chose the Cardinals:
"It was definitely a combination of things. I've always really loved the coaching staff at Louisville and it's a wonderful family environment that just made me feel at home. The players are really comforting and inviting."
How much was she influenced (or influence) friend and Kentucky Premier teammate and 2017 UofL commit Lindsey Duvall from Bullitt East we'll probably never know...but Coach Souder and Bullitt East skipper Chris Stallings have been friends for years and promote a family atmosphere in their programs. Both schools have that small-town feel and atmosphere...Bullitt East about 15 miles out of Louisville and Mercer County about an hour's drive away from the KFC YUM! Center. Duvall changed her commitment to Louisville over Kentucky in late July...about two weeks after Robins said "yes" to the Cards.
Jeff Walz has had a pattern of having a local or state-area player or two on his roster since he arrived at Louisville. Candyce Bingham, Monique Reid, Tia Gibbs, Nita Slaughter, Sara Hammond, Shelby Harper and now Jessica Laemmle are names near and dear to Cardinal women's basketball fans. Duvall and Robins will keep that tradition alive and you can expect that they'll also bring a large contingent of fans up US 127 or US 150 to the KFC YUM! Center to watch their hometown heroes.
It's been mentioned to us here in the past that UK and Matthew Mitchell do a better job of recruiting the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A scan of this year's UK roster includes six players from Kentucky, so that may bear out as accurate. How many final fours (or even Sweet Sixteens?) has Mitchell been to, though? And part of that Kentucky immigration occurred because of the clearance sale, all-items-must-go Mitchell move over the summer.
Home-grown isn't always best, although we do believe here at Cardinal Couple that Duvall and Robins are "cream of the crop" and will make several Final Four excursions in their time at Louisville.
Guards with motors that run all day at high speed. It's a Walz trademark. Witness Briahanna Jackson and Asia Durr on the current team. Plus Jazmine Jones, Taylor Johnson, Jessica Laemmle and Sydney Zambrotta. Duvall and Robins are from that same sorority. We can't put either in our "Attack Yorkie" classification...since they are both over 5'6"...but they easily qualify for the "Six or less and creating a mess sparkplugs".
Mercer County entertains 46th. District foe East Jessamine tonight at 6 p.m. It's a pretty easy drive from Louisville if you want to catch the game.