October UConn Recruiting Thread



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While we are on the subject of ratings/rankings might as well talk about this since it comes up every year. Each year there is a vast disparity in rankings or ratings between the services for a few players.
Examples from the past:
2019 Kennedy Brown #20 in ESPN: #100 by Prospectsnation
2018 Tatum Veitenheimer #24 in ProspectsNation: Outside the top 100 for ESPN
2017 Sidney Cooks #5 in ESPN: #69 in ProspectsNation
Diamond Johnson #6 in ESPN: Outside the top 100 in Prospectsnation
What accounts for these seemingly vast discrepancies?
  1. IDK but that won’t stop me from guessing.
  2. The rating/ranking philosophes e.g. some rating/rankings are based on projected college positions while others lean more towards how they play against current competition.
  3. AAU politics/affiliation e.g. EYBL (Nike) vs Adidas vs UnderArmour circuits
  4. Rating services affiliations e.g. (Blue Star=Belles) and ProspectsNation = Check me out show case events
  5. Timing e.g. one rater saw her play on her best day and the other was there on a not so good day
@CamrnCrz1974 and @HuskyNan please chime in based on your past experiences.
I do think the “ranking systems” are over thought by everyone, including college coaches, who pay thousands every year for the information.

But for the sake of your discussion I would avoid at all costs using Prospects Nation as the comparison ranking system with ESPN. PN is the least accurate of all the systems. PN will go lengthy periods of time without updating the ranks. PN has a very suspect “pay for tweets” option that likely affects their rankings. Even now PN currently has a 2020 girl in the top 25 who is committed to a D2 school.

I think if you compare the top 50 girls of ESPN, ASGR and Bluestar you will find much less major differences than with PN. I think PN sees far less games than the other rankers and evaluates from their camps far more than the others too. The others don’t seem as affected by not seeing enough games. And ESPN doesn’t really have a “camp” or “club”. This addresses points number 4 & 5 some.

Number 3 in my opinion is a factor that comes into play that is often overlooked. But in my opinion it’s problem is the inability to get “apples to apples” comparisons. For a few UA, Adidas or unaffiliated teams like FBC or Sports City they make a point of playing the Nike teams so coaches and scouts can get better assessments. But a majority of the non-Nike teams do not play the best talent out there. Nike hoards their teams and keeps them from getting much competition against teams outside Nike. I know UA fans would like this to change and hope the new league is changing things but for the last 10 years, including this summer, the talent in Nike EYBL is far better than other leagues. In my opinion the only UA team that could compete with a majority of the Nike teams is FBC. A girl may look amazing at the adidas championships but if she were on half of the Nike teams she would struggle for playing time. For some reason rankers tend to forget this and get caught up in what they see. HVL is best example here. Superstar in Adidas, struggled mightily against Nike completion this summer.

As I’ve mentioned before I believe this happens with USA trials a lot also. Rankers put far too much stock in the results. And once a girl makes the top 15 at USA over one long weekend as a 14 year old she is set for the rest of her prep career, entrenched in the top 25. With 2020s Deja Kelly and Alli Campbell best examples of this. Neither are top 25 players but because of good showings at USA when young they have been up in the ranks ever since.

Number 5 happens a lot of course, there just isn’t enough money and fame in girls basketball to get a ton of saturation by scouts. So a lot falls through the cracks because a scout only saw a player at their best, or at their worst. I have mentioned this before but ESPN seems to chase “flash” more than college potential. This also addresses number 2. Girls like 2019s Jaden Owens or 2020s Sarah Andrews and Diamond Johnson have lofty rankings but will unlikely have tons of success in college. They can look really flashy but it doesn’t work at the next level. 2017 Chasity Patterson perfect example.

Rankers do their best but as mentioned it’s a subjective process that has lots of “opinions” that vary. I would lean a lot towards the less public scouting services (ASGR, Bluestar, PASS) because they rely more heavily on results with college coaches to stay in business.
 
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But for the sake of your discussion I would avoid at all costs using Prospects Nation as the comparison ranking system with ESPN. PN is the least accurate of all the systems. PN will go lengthy periods of time without updating the ranks. PN has a very suspect “pay for tweets” option that likely affects their rankings. Even now PN currently has a 2020 girl in the top 25 who is committed to a D2 school.
The player you are referring to--Keegan Sullivan--is ranked 55th at Blue Star. Not really all that far off of PN's ranking. Also, Sullivan is ranked 115th at ASGR, a still high ranking for a player committed to D-2. For comparison, ASGR has Piath Gabriel 107th. Which one is more extreme considering their destinations?
 

CocoHusky

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I do think the “ranking systems” are over thought by everyone, including college coaches, who pay thousands every year for the information.

But for the sake of your discussion I would avoid at all costs using Prospects Nation as the comparison ranking system with ESPN. PN is the least accurate of all the systems. PN will go lengthy periods of time without updating the ranks. PN has a very suspect “pay for tweets” option that likely affects their rankings. Even now PN currently has a 2020 girl in the top 25 who is committed to a D2 school.

I think if you compare the top 50 girls of ESPN, ASGR and Bluestar you will find much less major differences than with PN. I think PN sees far less games than the other rankers and evaluates from their camps far more than the others too. The others don’t seem as affected by not seeing enough games. And ESPN doesn’t really have a “camp” or “club”. This addresses points number 4 & 5 some.

Number 3 in my opinion is a factor that comes into play that is often overlooked. But in my opinion it’s problem is the inability to get “apples to apples” comparisons. For a few UA, Adidas or unaffiliated teams like FBC or Sports City they make a point of playing the Nike teams so coaches and scouts can get better assessments. But a majority of the non-Nike teams do not play the best talent out there. Nike hoards their teams and keeps them from getting much competition against teams outside Nike. I know UA fans would like this to change and hope the new league is changing things but for the last 10 years, including this summer, the talent in Nike EYBL is far better than other leagues. In my opinion the only UA team that could compete with a majority of the Nike teams is FBC. A girl may look amazing at the adidas championships but if she were on half of the Nike teams she would struggle for playing time. For some reason rankers tend to forget this and get caught up in what they see. HVL is best example here. Superstar in Adidas, struggled mightily against Nike completion this summer.

As I’ve mentioned before I believe this happens with USA trials a lot also. Rankers put far too much stock in the results. And once a girl makes the top 15 at USA over one long weekend as a 14 year old she is set for the rest of her prep career, entrenched in the top 25. With 2020s Deja Kelly and Alli Campbell best examples of this. Neither are top 25 players but because of good showings at USA when young they have been up in the ranks ever since.

Number 5 happens a lot of course, there just isn’t enough money and fame in girls basketball to get a ton of saturation by scouts. So a lot falls through the cracks because a scout only saw a player at their best, or at their worst. I have mentioned this before but ESPN seems to chase “flash” more than college potential. This also addresses number 2. Girls like 2019s Jaden Owens or 2020s Sarah Andrews and Diamond Johnson have lofty rankings but will unlikely have tons of success in college. They can look really flashy but it doesn’t work at the next level. 2017 Chasity Patterson perfect example.

Rankers do their best but as mentioned it’s a subjective process that has lots of “opinions” that vary. I would lean a lot towards the less public scouting services (ASGR, Bluestar, PASS) because they rely more heavily on results with college coaches to stay in business.
Great points all around & thanks. Minor points of disagreement which you and I have covered before so in the interest of advancing the discussion would like to reintroduce two terms. Composite and Consensus. @vowelguy used to do a composite ranking which took into account multiple services ratings. Over the years I tried to shame him into reintroducing it but have been unsuccess-so far.
Rarely do all the services agree on the #1 player in a class. Stewie might have been the last consensus #1.
When consensus is achieved greatness usually follows. BTW Azzi Fudd has achieved consensus #1 but Paige has not. I'm also among the people who refuse to pay for these service rankings & ratings. I fully realize that the paid for information is far different and perhaps better than the free information.
 

Dillon77

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As I’ve mentioned before I believe this happens with USA trials a lot also. Rankers put far too much stock in the results. And once a girl makes the top 15 at USA over one long weekend as a 14 year old she is set for the rest of her prep career, entrenched in the top 25. With 2020s Deja Kelly and Alli Campbell best examples of this. Neither are top 25 players but because of good showings at USA when young they have been up in the ranks ever since.
Overall, I found your post on rankings interesting, particularly your points into the competition aspects of various circuits.

I get the gist of what you're trying to point out in this particular paragraph and could buy it if your'e talking about a particular regional tournament or one in the various circuits.

But national tryouts tend to bring everyone together from all over. And while it's one weekend or week, they're still going against more level competition than you might see during the summer tournaments. Plus:
- A lof the same players tend to come back year after year. That's for a reason.
- A number of the same rankers/writers also are there year after year. I look forward to reading Mark Lewis evaluations not just for the moment, but because he'll look for growth, development in each player.

In regards to the two players you cite: Alli Campbell, based on the information that USA Basketball produced made the Finals for the first time trying out for the stellar U17 team of 2018. Here's a quote from the release:
"Newcomers named as finalists include: Alli Campbell (Bellwood-Antis H.S./Altoona, Pa.); Aubrey Griffin (Ossining H.S./Ossining, N.Y.); and Hannah Gusters (Duncanville H.S./DeSoto, Texas)."

Based on her becoming a finalist, Campbell had a bio written about her and posted:

You'll see no other mention of her making a finalist list, so this was her first and only time doing so and it was just in 2018.

I've followed Campell's career since she was one of the relatively unknown partcipants who attend Notre Dame's mass recruiting weekend back in 2017 ("Recruitapalooza"). Since then, she's grown three to four inches, led her high school team to two consecuitve Pa. State Titles, been invited to join the Philly Belles and then atttended the trials in 2018. So I'd suggest, with Campbell at least, the linear progression is moving up to her current ratings, which I believe at current #20 HG and 26 PN.

As for Deja Kelly, I couldn't find a biography written about her on U.S.A. Basketball or any mention of her becoming a finalist. Yes, I have been adjusting her HG rankings upwards -- she's currently #17 -- but that has happened recently as seems more based on what Olson has seen in the last year or so (AAU seasons, HS season in Texas).
 

meyers7

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Great points all around & thanks. Minor points of disagreement which you and I have covered before so in the interest of advancing the discussion would like to reintroduce two terms. Composite and Consensus. @vowelguy used to do a composite ranking which took into account multiple services ratings. Over the years I tried to shame him into reintroducing it but have been unsuccess-so far.
Rarely do all the services agree on the #1 player in a class. Stewie might have been the last consensus #1.
When consensus is achieved greatness usually follows. BTW Azzi Fudd has achieved consensus #1 but Paige has not. I'm also among the people who refuse to pay for these service rankings & ratings. I fully realize that the paid for information is far different and perhaps better than the free information.
I've been doing that for the last few years. At least with the rankings I can find. (can't always find ASGR) But with Bluestar, PN, Hoopgurlz and if possible ASGR you can get a pretty good composite/consensus. And I only go with the Top 100 (sometimes Top 70 for Bluestar - depending on how many they list). After 100, I don't really care.

For 2019 it was
  1. Haley Jones
  2. Jordan Horston
  3. Aliyah Boston
  4. Ashley Owusu
  5. Rickea Jackson
  6. Samantha Brunelle
  7. Zia Cooke
  8. Nyah Green
  9. Kiesten Bell
  10. Breanna Beal
for the top 10. Griffin was a composite #33.

For 2020 so far (all 4)
  1. Paige Bueckers
  2. Kamila Cordosa (za)
  3. Angel Reese
  4. Hailey Van Lith
  5. Cameron Brink
  6. Caitlin Clark
  7. Sarah Andrews
  8. Hanna Gusters
  9. Sasha Goforth
  10. Sydney Parrish
McLean is #18. Gabriel is ranked outside 100. Muhl isn't ranked by any of them, but usually only a few Canadians might get ranked by some of them.
 
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Overall, I found your post on rankings interesting, particularly your points into the competition aspects of various circuits.

I get the gist of what you're trying to point out in this particular paragraph and could buy it if your'e talking about a particular regional tournament or one in the various circuits.

But national tryouts tend to bring everyone together from all over. And while it's one weekend or week, they're still going against more level competition than you might see during the summer tournaments. Plus:
- A lof the same players tend to come back year after year. That's for a reason.
- A number of the same rankers/writers also are there year after year. I look forward to reading Mark Lewis evaluations not just for the moment, but because he'll look for growth, development in each player.

In regards to the two players you cite: Alli Campbell, based on the information that USA Basketball produced made the Finals for the first time trying out for the stellar U17 team of 2018. Here's a quote from the release:
"Newcomers named as finalists include: Alli Campbell (Bellwood-Antis H.S./Altoona, Pa.); Aubrey Griffin (Ossining H.S./Ossining, N.Y.); and Hannah Gusters (Duncanville H.S./DeSoto, Texas)."

Based on her becoming a finalist, Campbell had a bio written about her and posted:

You'll see no other mention of her making a finalist list, so this was her first and only time doing so and it was just in 2018.

I've followed Campell's career since she was one of the relatively unknown partcipants who attend Notre Dame's mass recruiting weekend back in 2017 ("Recruitapalooza"). Since then, she's grown three to four inches, led her high school team to two consecuitve Pa. State Titles, been invited to join the Philly Belles and then atttended the trials in 2018. So I'd suggest, with Campbell at least, the linear progression is moving up to her current ratings, which I believe at current #20 HG and 26 PN.

As for Deja Kelly, I couldn't find a biography written about her on U.S.A. Basketball or any mention of her becoming a finalist. Yes, I have been adjusting her HG rankings upwards -- she's currently #17 -- but that has happened recently as seems more based on what Olson has seen in the last year or so (AAU seasons, HS season in Texas).
Fair points. Couple thoughts to interject.

Having watched 4 USA trials now, I do not think they do a good job of evaluating the talent. There are basically too many girls for the short period. The original 25 that get the “personal invite” are shoe ins unless they stumble badly and the other 125 players have to do something super unique or special to have even a slight chance of making it through the cuts. See Angel Reese as best example.

Alli is a fine player but she is not a top 30 player in 2020. On her average Philly Belles team this summer she was not a factor and her playing time reflected that. In my opinion if she had not made the top cut at USA she would not be in anyone’s top 40 even now. This comes mostly from observations this summer and last. High school ball means very little. She’s been steadily dropping in ESPN since USA, she is currently #25. ASGR has her at #27. Bluestar is higher, #17, but she is a Belle :).

Deja was a part of the first set of personal invites that USA sent out that included 2020s. She made it far in the cuts because of that, but didn’t make the team. Her college options she’s considering currently reflect her true level of talent. Ultimately college coaches opinions speak volumes.
 
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The player you are referring to--Keegan Sullivan--is ranked 55th at Blue Star. Not really all that far off of PN's ranking. Also, Sullivan is ranked 115th at ASGR, a still high ranking for a player committed to D-2. For comparison, ASGR has Piath Gabriel 107th. Which one is more extreme considering their destinations?
Gabriel is somewhat surprising but I see some main differences. The most obvious being that she is a big. And the premium on any girl that is 6’5” and can move her feet is high. Also most bigger girls take longer to develop so a girl like Gabriel, who knows, with Geno could be the next Megan Gustafson. Also Gabriel is just starting to get recognized and noticed. I think Geno found a diamond in the rough with her.

Sullivan is a regular old guard who isn’t even considered a top player in her own state. She is well connected to PN and for some reason was ranked by them out of place. Not saying she’s not a good player, but not top 50.
 
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.. paid for information is far different and perhaps better than the free information.
That's the point. You get what you pay for. The only people who read those rankings are parents and fans. And that's why not much effort is put into them. Like someone said, these services spend much more time doing in-depth ratings for college coaches who pay and also for parents who pay to get their daughters evaluated.
 
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It's not like Sullivan didn't have any Division 1 offers -- she was more focused on finding the perfect fit for her, and she found that at Rockhurst University.

Vivian Gray is a terrific example -- she had multiple Division 1 offers -- yet she chose to go to Fort Lewis and play D2 with her sister. She averaged 18.5 PPG at the D2 level, decided to come to the D1 level and upped her average to 20.0 PPG in a Power 5 conference. I don't think anyone would argue she isn't a top-50 talent just because she chose a Division 2 school.

Sullivan is clearly a Division 1 talent, as evidenced by her multiple offers. I haven't seen her enough to state whether or not she is top-25, 50, 100, 150, or so on, but evidenced by the fact that 3/4 of the recruiting sites have her as a top-125 recruits typically means that is where she lies at the current moment. @skinshoops86 on twitter who I find to be very knowledgeable felt that Keegan was a top-60 player in the class as well. Dawn Staley clearly saw something there as well to have offered her a scholarship in the summer of 2017. Was it likely withstanding? No, but it still shows there is some talent there.
 

CocoHusky

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Fair points. Couple thoughts to interject.

Having watched 4 USA trials now, I do not think they do a good job of evaluating the talent. There are basically too many girls for the short period. The original 25 that get the “personal invite” are shoe ins unless they stumble badly and the other 125 players have to do something super unique or special to have even a slight chance of making it through the cuts. See Angel Reese as best example.

Alli is a fine player but she is not a top 30 player in 2020. On her average Philly Belles team this summer she was not a factor and her playing time reflected that. In my opinion if she had not made the top cut at USA she would not be in anyone’s top 40 even now. This comes mostly from observations this summer and last. High school ball means very little. She’s been steadily dropping in ESPN since USA, she is currently #25. ASGR has her at #27. Bluestar is higher, #17, but she is a Belle :).

Deja was a part of the first set of personal invites that USA sent out that included 2020s. She made it far in the cuts because of that, but didn’t make the team. Her college options she’s considering currently reflect her true level of talent. Ultimately college coaches opinions speak volumes.
I not surprised Alli did well at US basketball trials. As I have stated before The Philadelphia Belles do the most outstanding job of preparing kids for USA basketball trials. By the time Belles players show up in Colorado they have been schooled on the drills, the sequence of the drills and key factors that coaches are looking for. In addition there are usually familiar faces in the gym in the form of other Belles players or staff such as Mike Flynn or Kevin Lynch. This is a huge advantage. Celeste Taylor is a best example of a player whose Belles preparation has been a significant edge as she keeps making the USA basketball teams. BTW Celeste is also an example of a player who keeps making USA teams and her rankings kept declining.
 

Dillon77

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I not surprised Alli did well at US basketball trials. As I have stated before The Philadelphia Belles do the most outstanding job of preparing kids for USA basketball trials. By the time Belles players show up in Colorado they have been schooled on the drills, the sequence of the drills and key factors that coaches are looking for. In addition there are usually familiar faces in the gym in the form of other Belles players or staff such as Mike Flynn or Kevin Lynch. This is a huge advantage. Celeste Taylor is a best example of a player whose Belles preparation has been a significant edge as she keeps making the USA basketball teams. BTW Celeste is also an example of a player who keeps making USA teams and her rankings kept declining.
And Celeste was chosen Pre-season Frosh of the Year at the recent Big`12 Conference Day. One of the best high school (yes, I know some discount high school games, but I don't) games I've seen was her Long Island Lutheran vs. Manasquan. Dara Mabrey vs. Grace Stone (now at Princeton). Taylor and Faith Masonius. Great game.

Look forward to seeing how she does at Austin. I wouldn't of minded if she had ended up north. ;) (But in all fairness, her game has a lot of the same elements of Katlyn Gilbert and Anaya Peoples.)
 
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TheFarmFan

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Not sure about Azzi attending First Night, but she’s on campus today. Geno and CD are talking to her and family in the Dairy Bar (I even googled her family to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me!). Everyone seems happy to me.
Haha, love the on-the-ground, locally sourced intel! :D

I do think the “ranking systems” are over thought by everyone, including college coaches, who pay thousands every year for the information. . . .
This was a great and very helpful post - thanks for sharing your thoughts. The one other thing I'd add is that "effort" and "grit" are really hard to detect from a few showcases here and there and "natural talent" disparities are much greater in high school settings than in college or the pros so HS freaks of nature can end up as college busts. Almost all of the top players are not only naturally talented and blessed with very athletic bodies, but also very hard workers with a strong drive to win and a relentless tenacity even when things don't always go well (think of UConn legends like Sue, DT, Moore, Stewwie - and more recently, Kia Nurse is an excellent example of this).

To me, HS recruiting services have almost no capability to assess for hard work and grit, because it's not as apparent as talent or natural athleticism in a handful of showcase games. Yet in the long term, that matters more. I feel like players like Joyner Holmes and Rellah Boothe are two different kinds of examples of this, and a coach like Aston just simply doesn't have the coaching skills to turn that around, so they either flounder (Holmes) or flail and move on (Boothe). Closer to home, Kailee Johnson was an example at Stanford. Y'all will say "who?!" - but once upon a time she was the #1 ranked recruit her HS soph. year, and was still top 15 by college. Tara said every year, "Kailee will be as good as she is committed to basketball," and every year she wasn't interested in putting in that effort. Eventually, she quit basketball entirely before her senior year at Stanford, because she simply wasn't that interested in the game anymore.

More than anything, that's why I think Bueckers can be a once-in-a-generation player - her work ethic and basketball hunger seems off the charts, and that will end up taking her much farther than her frame or basketball IQ alone could take her.
 
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Not sure about Azzi attending First Night, but she’s on campus today. Geno and CD are talking to her and family in the Dairy Bar (I even googled her family to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me!). Everyone seems happy to me.
Dairy Bar? We are serious! Pulling out the closer.

BTW, what did you order?
 
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Only downside to Fudd visiting this weekend is that she is most likely not coming to First Night when the other recruits will be here.
 
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Glad to read about it here in the boneyard. I subscribe to the digital version of the courant and over the last 2-3 years have been disappointed in the papers coverage of UConn men and women’s programs. I sometimes get more information and coverage from the Ct. Post, which is located in Bridgeport. Why didn’t the courant know or publish Fudd‘s visit. What is the status of Westbrook’s health? Assuming the NCAA grants her waiver, has she been cleared medically? How are practices going after week one, any injuries? Who is looking good?
Like I said earlier I don’t think we are getting really good coverage. The last article published in the courant about the women’s program was October 5th.
Anyone agree or disagree?
 
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Glad to read about it here in the boneyard. I subscribe to the digital version of the courant and over the last 2-3 years have been disappointed in the papers coverage of UConn men and women’s programs. I sometimes get more information and coverage from the Ct. Post, which is located in Bridgeport. Why didn’t the courant know or publish Fudd‘s visit. What is the status of Westbrook’s health? Assuming the NCAA grants her waiver, has she been cleared medically? How are practices going after week one, any injuries? Who is looking good?
Like I said earlier I don’t think we are getting really good coverage. The last article published in the courant about the women’s program was October 5th.
Anyone agree or disagree?
I wouldn't expect much from the Courant, they hired a new beat writer this year that is very young and inexperienced! She is a recent Stanford grad and in the few articles that I have read, provides little more than fluff pieces!
 
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Glad to read about it here in the boneyard. I subscribe to the digital version of the courant and over the last 2-3 years have been disappointed in the papers coverage of UConn men and women’s programs. I sometimes get more information and coverage from the Ct. Post, which is located in Bridgeport. Why didn’t the courant know or publish Fudd‘s visit. What is the status of Westbrook’s health? Assuming the NCAA grants her waiver, has she been cleared medically? How are practices going after week one, any injuries? Who is looking good?
Like I said earlier I don’t think we are getting really good coverage. The last article published in the courant about the women’s program was October 5th.
Anyone agree or disagree?
Lots of personnel change at the Courant (viz Jeff Jacobs and Paul Doyle leaving last year). As noted above, the beat reporter seems like a near entry-level position at this time. Voila!: dismal sports coverage- it's a feature, not an accident.
 
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