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OldGoldFreePress COLUMNISTS | BACK TO Bob_Sienicki'S COLUMNS

PURDUE WOMENS BASKETBALL RECRUITING:
Nike Camp: Day 1 Impressions




Date: 7/15/2004
Author: Bob_Sienicki
Old Gold Free Press Columnists

    Hello to all from St. Louis...

    Mr. Richards and myself are in attendance at the 2004 Nike Girl's All American Camp here on the campus of St. Louis University. Since I am a newcomer to these national all-star camps, Bob has asked me to do a daily report for all of you who, like me, are new to this stuff...

    If you have specific questions, I will try to respond as I have time. I am obviously busy during the day at the camps so replies will probably be in the evenings. Also, keep in mind that the evaluations we are doing will take some time to compile and will be posted in their entirety sometime after we both get back from the camp.

    Anyway, let's get started...

    The campus at St. Louis University is quite nice and contains, like Purdue, a LOT of red brick. It is a very stylish place within eyesight of the famous Arch and the rest of downtown. The hotel in which we are staying is about a mile down the road from the main campus. All in all, it is a very nice setting for the camp and a relaxing, if urban, environment.

    Should you make it to this campus anytime soon, check out Vito's Restaurant across from campus. Great italian eats with wine at every table. Too bad we're too busy for the wine, though.

    The camp actually started yesterday but they were not issuing media credentials until early this afternoon just before the first round of games. While the camp organization seemed at first to be somewhat vague, it quickly precipitated into discrete form minutes after arriving. Events like this are often hard to keep organized especially considering the ever changing schedules of players and coaches. FWIW though, the entire staffs of both Nike and the University have been very friendly, helpful and professional. And though it seems we are the only media in attendance to this point, Nike has kept us up to date and communicates with us regularly. Truly good people to work with...

    We have been provided with rooms for interviews, a parking lot pass and pretty much unrestricted access to all games, coaches and players. Sitting among the many coaches in attendance has been a blast as they are all quite relaxed and openly friendly with each other as well as us. Unfortunately, neither we nor they have time for idle talk since ultimately everyone is focused on the games.

    Some of the coaches I have seen in attendance to this point include...

    Katrina Merriwether (Purdue), Carolyn Peck (& brother), Nell Fortner (wearing a LOUD orange Auburn pullover), Lisa Bluder, Jim Foster, Rene Portland and, this evening, Pat Summitt. Of course, there are plenty of other coaches I do not recognize including the many assistants in attendance as well. To this point, Kristy is not here as yet and there has been no sign of Geno. If Bob and I recognize any others, we will keep you updated...

    Some players of note attending include recruits Jodi Howell, Amber Harris, Ta'Shia Phillips as well as potential recruits Marshae Dotson, Aisha Jefferson & Jasmin Stone. In all, there are 8 teams with around 10 players on each team though Jodi's team is evidently now down to 7 players due to attrition by injury. Jodi played only one game today (w/Richards watching) to avoid stressing the knee. Bob spoke with Jodi's parents for some time this evening. Jon indicated the knee is still progressing though they are limiting her action to only one game a day. When I watched her team play this evening, she was clearly down at the mouth on the bench though she actively supported her team. I have no doubt this young lady is at the limits of her patience.

    All in due time. She is, of course, one very special young woman.

    After some general planning, Bob & I took opposite courts with only two games happening at a time. We are taking somewhat different approaches to observing the games. Bob has his tried and tested method of taking notes (and looks too totally relaxed as a result) and I am using my totally untried and untested method of trying to write down EVERYTHING. Even if I knew shorthand, it would be virtually impossible. And despite my considerable experience with keeping game stats, I have chosen a completely different tactic... no stats at all.

    During my several years of coaching, I have written down a fairly comprehensive list of attributes I feel is important in evaluating players at any level. These include physical attributes like lateral quickness, sure-handedness and hops to attitude attributes like tendency to dive for loose balls, disciplines like blocking out, leadership qualities to offensive skills like shooting technique, ability to set screens, entry pass accuracy, etc. to defensive skills like positioning and proper stance.

    Lots of stuff.

    I even made up this really neato form with which to score all these players. In addition, I brought a video camera to record that which I missed to complete evaluations later. Ah... the road to hell is paved with good intentions!

    Let's just say that after the first two games and with my blood pressure higher than the humidity, the system has been somewhat modified!

    During tonight's games I actually looked more relaxed. Maybe as much as Rene! (Will wonders ever cease!)

    Anyway, some final thoughts...

    I want everyone to understand a few things about these evals. Most of you Purdue fans who are used to these are already aware of what I am about to say but it is clear there are a lot of visitors from other sites not to mention players and families who will be reading what we have to say.

    Our evaluations are not meant to be comprehensive by any means. They are nothing more than observations by two persons at one point in time. Players can have good and bad days like the rest of us mortals and so when reading our evals please keep that in mind. In addition, what is important to me or Bob may or may not be important to other coaches. There are value differences in any audience.

    Finally, these are obviously VERY talented young ladies who have spent a great deal of time and effort working to develop their skills. It is my intention to honor and respect that time and effort because I have been a part of many kids' development over the years and I know how hard they work. Being a parent of a pretty talented kid myself, I also know the sacrifices the parents go through to help enable their kids' dreams.

    As such, I am going to stress the positives with each of the players I observe. That is not to say I won't call out obvious deficiencies if I see them. When you choose to play at this level, you open the door for critique, plain and simple. That is part of the price you pay for stepping into the public eye. But I would rather focus on positive attributes than dwell on weaknesses.

    The simple fact is that all of these girls are tremendously talented and much more so than your neighbors' kids. Or even yours or mine. Let's keep in mind that these evals are all relative in that regard and we shouldn't have any problems...

    For now...

    JMHOAU




As news organizations move their stories to an archive, some of the links listed above may become inactive

OldGoldFreePress COLUMNISTS
OGFP_Staff -Career Blocked Shots Rankings
Bob_Richards -Women's Recruiting Update: Liza Clemons No. 1
Steve -Opponent #11: University of Wisconsin
MDC -NCAA: (5 seed) Purdue 76 - (4 seed) Washington 74
Capri_Small -Purdue 76, Western Illinois 44
Jimmy_D - Gazing into the Crystal Bubble, Part III: SEC / Big Ten / PAC 10
Brad_Jewell -Introducing Purdue Sports News via Facebook
Bob_Sienicki -Nike Camp: Elena Delle Donne Interview
Bob_Sternvogel -Nike Camp Report #1 (Sparks and Monarchs)
Guest_Columnist -Gazing into the Crystal Bubble, Part III: The SEC/Big Ten/PAC 10
Others -Purdue Sports Info
 
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