WHERE WILL HAILEY VAN LITH END UP?
"...like a steel locomotive, rolling down the track. she's gone, she's gone and nothing's gonna bring her back..she's gone.." (borrowed liberally from the Grateful Dead's "He's Gone"...written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter.
As the Cardinals WBB fans and other women's basketball followers come to grips with the now-obvious fact that Hailey Van Lith will play basketball for someone other than the Louisville Cardinals, the next query is..."where do you think she'll end up?" One would figure that she'll pursue a masters in finance, and not every college or university offers those, so we'll take a look at a few who do. She'll also probably be looking for a school that has a basketball program that can be a legitimate contender for the national title. She's probably looking for a major market, too, so her NIL will continue to rise. And maybe, even....close to her home.
Not wanting to be contacted by schools when in the transfer portal can mean a couple of things...she knows where she wants to go already or she wants to control the process.
So, what have we got? Here are some schools I see as possibilities. And, believe me, I know nothing. I've got no inside scoop. I've found that you get to know some players during and after their years at a school by covering them, interviewing them and interacting with them
. Hailey was hard to get to know.
1) UCLA. They have one of the best finance programs in the United States, with a low student-to-teacher ratio, and their basketball squad made it to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, before bowing out to South Carolina. Cori Close is a highly respected head coach and UCLA is a lot closer to Wenatchee, WA than east coast schools, if that matters.
Talk about a big media market...yeah, Los Angeles ain't too bad, is it?
2) Stanford. An excellent MBA program there, as well, and they're a pretty decent women's basketball program as well, right? Another option that is closer to her home and family than many other choices. PAC is tough competition and chances are she could be playing in Washington or Oregon for a couple of games during conference play, an easier trip for her parents and her fan base. Tara VanDerveer knows a thing or two about basketball, also
3) LSU. It was down to Kim Mulkey (Baylor) and Jeff Walz when Hailey came out of high school. Mulkey is now at LSU and she's also head coach of the national champion. The business school there does offer a masters in finance, but it isn't ranked very high among schools that do. And, it's a long, long way from the state of Washington. Alexis Morris has graduated...but Angel Reese returns. Not something opposing coaches would be ticlked about...Reese and Van Lith on the same roster.
4) Indiana. Excellent business school with a top 10 masters in finance program. A #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a coach that'll be looking for a leader now that Grace Berger is gone. Plenty of tough competition in the Big 10, including a couple of games against Caitlin Clark,...which leads us to...
5) Iowa. Van Lith and Clark played a lot of ball together on various USA teams throughout high school and college, And, despite the shenanigans between the two during the tournament, can you imagine having to prepare for a team that had both Clark and Van Lith on their roster? And, Hawkeye fans are a lot like Hoosier fans...certifiably crazy and a loyal bunch that love women's college basketball.
I would expect we'll find out pretty soon where she's headed.
And, that pretty much closes my book on Van Lith and her career.
Of course, the five options I offered above are just speculation. It could be a UConn, or South Carolina...maybe even an Oregon or Washington school. And, Miami did the Cavender sisters no harm at all, did they? Looking for that Ivy League masters diploma? Princeton made the "big dance" this year and beat NC State, something Louisville couldn't do. And, University of Utah is another "top ten" in ranking for their masters in finance.
Time will tell.