Associate Strength and Conditioning Coach Beth Burns spoke to the Central Cardinal Club on Tuesday night. Here are some interesting tidbits from that talk:
- At the end of the summer the team averaged a 3.0 GPA for the 11th consecutive semester. Not many schools ever have a team GPA over 3.0.
-We have 3 transfers. Kianna Smith is a Junior from Cal who is going to redshirt. She was accepted into Cal's business school, but when she told her uncle who works in the WNBA that she wanted to play professionally he suggested that she transfer. Louisville was one of the schools on her list. She's a 6'0" point guard and very bright. She'll have her MBA by the time she graduates.
We got two transfers from Georgia Tech after the departure of head coach MaChelle Joseph. Elizabeth Bologun was the ACC Freshman of the Year. Elizabeth Dixon was named to the All-ACC Freshman team and three times was named ACC Freshman of the Week. Coach Burns says Liz Dixon might be the best rebounder that she's seen in a long time. We're still in a waiting game to find out if they're are going to get waivers for this season, but she's guessing that we might know by the end of September.
-Freshman Norika Konno is from Japan and she can "straight play." The staff received a video of her and Coach Walz thought she had potential so when he was coaching the US FIBA U19 team he maneuvered a scrimmage in Tokyo when they were on their way to Thailand. That night he called home and said, "My gosh, people. I can't tell you how good this kid is." When asked what brought her to Louisville she says, "Coach Jeff Walz."
-Bionca Dunham had surgery on both knees. Nothing serious just cleaning some stuff up. Redshirt freshman Molly Lockhart has "massive 7 foot wingspan and huge hands. She's not extremely quick but she's strong as a bull. Great feet. Moves quickly and can block shots." Coach Burns said, "You're going to see a new and improved Kylee. She is 30 pounds heavier today than she was as a freshman. She's very prideful. She's been thrown in ringer with crazy Bionca, rebounding fool Liz, and bigger and stronger Molly and that's made her better."
- Dana Evans isn't the tallest one on the team but don't feel bad for her because she's powerful. She's put in the work. A few weeks ago she hex squat 385 pounds "so if she gets mad at you don't let her kick you."
- Jazmine Jones "wakes up happy." She went on a mission trip to Jamaica where she painted a chapel and taught children. She owns the campus. She's in FCA. She's Vice President of SAAC and was elected by hundreds of other athletes to represent UofL at an ACC leadership conference in Atlanta. "She's as good as it gets."
- Yacine Diop isn't cleared yet but played for Senegal in FIBA AfroBasket. She doesn't do everything every day but she's getting closer. As Coach Purcell says, "we play position-less basketball because we play fast. But you can't play fast if you can't think fast. And you can't think fast if you don't know everybody's position." So the team practices sets with a lot of different parts and every athlete plays every spot. Yacine looks natural at all 5 spots.
- Things are very competitive amongst the returning underclassmen. Molly Lockhart (redshirt) will be a true freshman. Mykasa Robinson has worked almost exclusively at point guard. After three weeks she's our best defender. Tough kid. We have competitions every week and Lindsey Duvall is the leader in 3 point shooting. Seygan Robins is our leader in floor burns and deflections.
- Coach Burns also shared a little of her personal story. She said that she lived in California most of her grown up life and really thought she was coming here for just one year. She'd only come to Louisville for a game and didn't know if she could live here. But after three years here she said emphatically, "I love Louisville, Kentucky. It is the coolest city. The people are remarkable." She joked that the Sam Fuehring's brothers came here for a tournament game and said, "Yo. Coach B. You're from Jersey right? The people here are so freakin nice.....it's kind of unnerving." She laughed, "People ask you how you're doing and they wait for the answer! It's not Jersey or California."
She raved about the fans saying that there are only 3 schools in the country that have over 10,000 a game and Louisville is one of them." Jeff was out recruiting that day and she said, "I'm here talking about Jeff but you know what he's out there talking about right now is you. You're the difference."