Among the 4,300 spectators at the Louisville-Kentucky NCAA Regional championship was Colby Fitch who signed a letter of commitment in November to play his college baseball at UofL, starting in the 2015 season.
Fitch, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound catcher, was named the Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year following the 2012-13 season. The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character. He was also selected as Missouri Player of the Year by Prep Baseball Report.
During his junior season, Fitch batted .500 with five home runs, 25 runs scored and 22 runs batted in. He also walked 22 times, producing a remarkable .653 on-base percentage. Defensively, he threw out 80 percent (12-15) of would-be base stealers. He’s also a straight-A student.
He actually verbally committed in 2012, telling USSSA he chose Louisville “because I believe they give me the best shot of playing at the next level past college. I really like the coaching staff. I feel they hold their players to very high standards which can only make them better people.
“I believe that the University of Louisville gives me the best and soonest chance to play, which is big for me. I want to be able to go into a program and know that I have a shot to fight and battle it out for a starting job. Louisville has all these components.”
The celebrating should wait if that’s possible. At least there is no dancing in front of the bench.
Duke straight ahead, with the brains to go with the brawn … and some would caution the close officiating calls as well.
Just a minute, though, to treasure 40 full minutes of everything coming together for the University of Louisville basketball team in an 84-61 win over 13th-ranked Missouri.
Russ Smith, Peyton Siva and Luke Hancock turning Phil Pressey over eight times between his eight assists and 15 points.
Hancock hitting five of seven three-point attempts, just as Bob Valvano had predicted would happen during a crucial game on the road. Wanting the ball, wanting to shoot, no fear. Make that 19 points.
Russ, with his hyper-frenetic pace, know-no-fear, in-your-face ball hawking, with five steals, three assists and five rebounds. He’s every ball handler’s nightmare, as well as the game manager while Siva is on the bench. Those 18 points just two below his season average.
Siva looking more like the Peyton of last March, penetrating, finding open teammates, shooting confidently, arriving just in time, needing a good one before the Saturday’s showdown.
Stephan Van Treese providing the bulk with Gorgui Dieng on the bench, going gut to gut with Alex Oriakhi, not backing down, keeping the Missouri giant under control. Eat, Gorgui, keep eating, put on the pounds.
Wayne Blackshear, looking better that shot of his every game, accompanied by a growing confidence. When he gets it all back, he’s going to get those questionable calls as well.
Tim Henderson, with that uncertain look during his one minute of playing time, with that thread-the-needle pass in the final seconds of the first half, one he will be reliving for a lifetime.
Gogui is overdue, time to turn in a good one. He’s come too far to turn back now.
Holiday weekend with family, turkey, dressing, fruit salad, football and basketball. What could be better?
The only thing lacking is an affiliation with a major football conference. That could be coming in the not-too-distant future. Who knows for sure, not even the people charged with making those kinds of decisions. But we have some reason to be optimistic about a desirable eventual outcome in the conference realignment saga.
One thing certain, however, is that Florida State is now the observer’s second favorite athletic program, the folks there reportedly making it clear that they want the University of Louisville with them. Whether that be in the ACC or in in another conference. Others just need to drop the phony academic arguments, figments of their eluded sense of superiority.
While awaiting the word, however, the eyes will be on UofL basketball in the Bahamas, trusting that the Cardinals will find a groove not quite so dependent upon defense to deflect Missouri. A multi-tasking approach has to include half-way decent shooting.
Our new best friends in Tallahassee, with their 10th-ranked football team, go up against No. 6 Florida at 3:30 Saturday. FSU basketball is idle until Tuesday, traveling to Minnesota.
The holiday season has arrived. Here’s hoping the blessings continues for UofL fans (and FSU, of course).
Good luck trying to keep the sequence of events straight but the pairings have been announced for the highly-vaunted Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament in the Bahamas.
Finding NBC Sports and AXS.tv on television and/or the Internet should be a priority as well.
What we know for sure is that the University of Louisville will play Samford at the KFC Yum! Center on Nov. 15. UofLSports.com indicates that game is considered part of the tournament but it won’t affect the brackets.
Then Rick Pitino’s team will travel to the islands to face Nothern Iowa on Nov. 22, hoping to stay in the winner’s bracket. The best the loser can do after that is compete for fifth place.
UofL will next face the winner or loser of the Missouri vs. Stanford matchup on Nov. 23 at either 3:30 or 9:30 p.m. Other initial matchups include Duke facing Minnesota and Memphis playing Virginia Commonwealth.
NBC Sports Network will air the 7 and 9:30 p.m. games each day, while AXS.tv will air the 1 and 3:30 p.m. games. The championship game will be played at 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 24.
Could possibly be the second game between the two, with both teams participating in the Battle For Atlantis, Nov. 22-24, in the Bahamas, along with Duke, Minnesota, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Stanford and Virginia Commonwealth.
Possible major conflict looming for U of L fans, with Charlie Strong’s football team hosting UConn at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on the 24th.