This old guy is still mystified as to why Hailey Van Lith departed the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. After ghosting her fans at UofL, she has finally landed at Louisiana State University where she will be coached by the fiery Kim Mulkey. This would never have happened in his generation.
Van Lith, a 5-foot-7 guard, has one year of eligibility left. But she will always be a UofL alumnus, having obtained a degree in three years. Hopefully she will be a generous donor to the school. She did good deeds while here, taking underprivileged children to local stores buying clothes for them. Using some of her NIL money, putting it back into the community.
After averaging 19 points a game this past season, Van Lith did not have as good a season as her freshman or sophomore years. Her shooting is decent inside the 3-point line. But her passing abilities are average, she makes more than her share of turnovers and, with her lack of speed, often gets lost on defense.
Former Cardinals Asia Duerr and Dana Evans were better players but Van Lith will still go down as better than the average player with visions of personal greatness.
The Cardinals have several players transferring in from the portal. Coach Jeff Walz knows his important it is to get fresh talent and keep the Louisville program in the upper echelon of college basketball. Connecticut, LSU, South Carolina are the programs, at least right now. Don’t forget Iowa with Caitlin Clark, one of the best shooters in collegiate history.
But why leave now? Van Lith could have remained here. The Courier-Journal columnist, C.L. Brown sided with Van Lith. She will reportedly make more NIL money at LSU and will be able expand her game. Selling automobiles, bathroom renovations, who knows? Huckster opportunities galore in the Bayou.
Van Lith could expand her game here. She is not a point guard but a shooting guard. Maybe she got tired of Coach Jeff Walz. He works his players hard on a daily basis. But Van Lith was in the gym for extra hours working. Kim Mulkey isn’t exactly likeable, hardly an angel, with those outrageous outfits and an explosive temper.
Some say Van Lith is a Robin and not a Batman. If that’s the case, she may be exactly what LSU if it hopes to repeat as national champion next year. Hopefully she can adjust to be just another role player next season.
Maybe she got stale and tired of her teammates. Van Lith has the right to do what ever she desires. But UofL fans and former teammates and coaches also have the right to wonder why she would desert a program that made her a national name.