Tough times make tough people.
More than a little discomforting the 1-4 start for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. Depressingly bad way to start a season.
Not what UofL fans, more than 16,000 of them turning out for the opening game against California, were expecting with what numerous analysts had proclaimed to be the top recruiting class in the nation. High expectations have given way to some harsh realities, the Cardinals dropping out of the top 25 this week.
Now comes the news that Asia Durr, the most heralded recruit in the 2015 class, is having difficulties recovering from a groin injury.
She will miss the rest of the season, hoping to be ready for next year. Update: She’s available and playing, a surprising recovery.
With only two starters among the four players returning from last season, Coach Jeff Walz knew there would be a learning curve. Little did he know how steep that learning curve would be, with more than a few shortcomings on offense and an inability to stop anyone on defense.
A rude awakening for a team that has two of the nation’s top recruiting classes over the past two seasons. A nice group of players, possibly too nice for their own good. Possibly taking too seriously all the conjecture about how good they were going to be, going through the motions. Welcome to reality, ladies. There’s a big difference between the fantasy world of recruiting hype and the rigors of college women’s basketball.
Walz has expressed surprise about the lack of basketball intelligence from some, indicating that he has spent a lot of time on basics, and possibly not being as demanding as in the past. In other words, too soft. Millenials are concerned about feelings, you know. That hasn’t worked for him or them.
This team obviously has some good players with significant potential. But they will begin to improve only when they develop some toughness, refusing to roll over when they are challenged. That will likely require a more hands-on approach from a coach who has never tolerated mediocrity.
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Sorry to hear that Will Gardner has been granted his release from the UofL football team without seeing any action during the 2015 season. Gardner actually looked good during the spring training camp, like he was ready to compete for the starting position again. But those three ACL tears on the same leg had to be a concern for Bobby Petrino, reluctant to get Gardner involved in any part of the season-long quarterback controversies. Hopefully he finds a good home and some serious playing time at his next stop while avoiding further injury.
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Julie Hermann, the former associate AD in charge of women’s athletics at UofL, has been fired after two tumultuous years at Rutgers University. Hermann had to see the writing on the wall when the administration dealt directly with Kyle Flood, the football coach, who was suspended during the season for improper contact with an academic instructor. Hermann and Flood were fired within hours on Sunday.
Hermann had visions of doing for Rutgers what Tom Jurich has done for UofL. Rutgers announced a new $3.5 million baseball stadium last spring but they made little progress in raising the money. Hermann will continue to receive her $450,000 salary through 2018.