Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Louisville women's basketball -- The recruiting game is played on many levels -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
RECRUITING AND THE GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
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.
NOVEMBER IS DONATION MONTH AT CARDINAL COUPLE
In a couple of days...we will start our annual donation drive. November is our designated donation month. CARDINAL COUPLE is a non-profit organization. We have expenses.
We come to you, hat-in-hand, and ask if you'll be kind enough to donate. No amount is too small or too large. We appreciate what you decide to do. We'll get into the details of the different ways to do so and why we ask for your help in a few days, but checks are always appreciated.
P.O. Box 91521
Louisville, KY 40291