By SARAH WHITE
I was not sure how the transition would be from Memorial to Rupp for today’s Women’s Clinic, but my mind is made up – Rupp offered the better experience. I just hope we continue there. All of us old-timers (had been to everyone of his clinics) were a little skeptical of the venue change. But, my Women’s Clinic family and my daughters from Maryland and Florida loved the change.
Thoughts from the Clinic:
*Coach Robic was in charge of the Clinic and he wanted it to be perfect. He got an A as far as I was concerned.
*There were almost 1,100 participants – the most ever. We could never have reached that number in Memorial.
*We did not have our normal menu from Rafferty’s. The menu changed to water, crackers, cereal bars, snacks and chocolate. Anyone that might have been disappointed was soon thrilled to learn that the $10,000 normally used for the dinner went instead as a donation to the Markey Cancer Foundation.
*The men’s Locker Room, Lounge, Showers, and the coaches’ offices were extraordinary. I almost wanted to be a player. I think I meet most of the criteria except for being male and talented.
*We got lucky and were in the section where the basketball players sat for the large picture of the entire crowd. We acted as if we were 18 years old and had not seen a good-looking basketball player in years.
*Specialized group pictures of 14 attendees behind the entire basketball team (plus the Wildcat) were made. The process was fast and smooth and took less than an hour.
*We were shown the video of last year’s highlights as well as the video that is shown to the recruits. We, and particularly the media, were told to NOT record the video.
*The strength and conditioning coach had volunteers from the audience participate in some exercises. Then Coach Barbee, Coach Justice and Coach Payne had volunteers participate in real basketball drills. They even set the example by showing their skills. Again, the only criticism is that some of the attendees rush to participate in both drills. This portion of the event was a little long.
*I think Isaiah Briscoe is now officially the leader. He herded the young players into what they should do and how. He high-fived everyone as he was introduced, as we were getting pictures made, we told him we loved him and he reciprocated to all of us with “I Love You’s.”
*This team is going to be built on highlight reels. Bam was knocking down 3’s, Isaiah was knocking down 3’s; Malik Monk, Brad Calipari, and Derkk Willis were knocking down 3’s. Dunks were spectacular. But to me the most impressive element of this team is how they generally seem to like each other and enjoy playing together.
*We made new friends many years ago, and they are now family. So, a highlight is to see Emily Schwegman, her mother, Karen O’Connor as well as to be with my daughter from Baltimore, MD, Jennifer Partlow, and my daughter from St. Augustine, Josie Whetstone. This is worth the fee of attending.
*There were nice prizes, but some folks got a surprise by winning an engraved coin from Coach Cal’s Hall of Fame induction. Others won door prizes including the pink shoes worn and then signed by Coach Cal. Someone asked if he was willing to give up his pink shirt, and sure enough he did.
What would the Women’s Clinic be without something crazy happening to me? As we left from having our pictures made with the players, Josie yelled at me to come sit next to Coach Cal, and he would let us take a picture with him and our family. The minute she yelled, I walked right over the platform and fell directly onto my knees. Coach Cal kept asking if I was okay; of course I said I felt great. His kindness was overwhelming. I literally almost fell at his feet. I would fall over and over again for the same opportunity.
Anyway, another great clinic was held. I have found some folks complain about everything. I know many said they missed the “getting to know the athletes better,” but I am so thrilled and excited for this opportunity. I appreciate Coach Cal, Coach Robic and all the other coaches and players that make this a success each year. It is truly one of the highlights of my life.