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By SARAH WHITE
Another year, another women’s clinic – each one a little larger than the last. This year there were 660 women registered. As usual, we were lucky enough to find two of our new friends from last year – Tammy and Kelli, plus we met two more wonderful people – Karen, and her daughter Emily. I know this sounds childish, but one of the best parts of the clinic is making new friends who become great friends after awhile.
Coach Robic is always the best part of the clinic to me. He picks on me and calls me “trouble, “ but he always makes me laugh. Hopefully, I make him laugh as well. I look forward every year to knowing he will remember me and kid with me. This year I was a part of a shooting drill. Trouble is that I can’t shoot, so each time it came my turn, I threw the ball to Coach Strickland to get him to shoot for me. He missed 4 layups in a row. I finally told him he needed to practice, and I needed a replacement for him. I was able to talk to Coach Strickland after the clinic, and I think he knows he is going to be ribbed quite a bit for missing every single shot he took in my place. He told me the teasing had already started. I warned him that he had better practice between now and next year.
Coach Cal then gave us his Coachspeak – I call it Cal-ish (Cal English). He is so smooth when talking to the crowds. He continues to tell us this is a player’s first program; be patient with these guys since they are so young, and they will get much, much better. I think he certainly correct on that. You could feel their intensity in their practice.
This team was fun to watch. Julius Randle is a beast ( beast with a smile that lights up the room); James Young is quite a hustler and shooter; the twins are what we expected; and Dakari Johnson is going to be lethal as well. Marcus Lee has a wonderful personality. He is thin but pogo-ish in his jumping. I think he will end up being very good. Alex Poythress played on what I would consider the second team, and he has really improved on his intensity. He still hangs his head when he misses, but I think he is getting much better. Jon Hood is really shooting well from the three-point line, and he really hustles. Jarrod Polson looked good as well. He held his own with the other players. I really do think this group is progressing nicely. Hope they learn to laugh some (that was missing), but I am sure it is a big leap to go from playing high school to playing in front of 600 + crazy women.
One of the most exciting things to me was the piece of the Final Four Floor that was given to us on the way out! I know I will treasure this until I die. Coach Cal and staff always try to make this perfect for us. Can you imagine – trying to please 660 women? But, they really, really try.
I am exhausted after 6 hours at the Women’s Clinic; but, I am already making plans with Josie (and Jennifer and Angie if they are available) to come back next year. As an out of state person, this is such an awesome experience for me to meet the players and coaches one more time.
I can’t express enough how wonderful this clinic is. For $100, it is reasonable and well worth every penny. The coaches obviously plan and think carefully what will make us happy. Are 100 % of the women happy, heck no; but, how do you ever make 660 women (or men for that matter), love everything you do. And, I can’t say enough about how pleasant the guys were as they signed item after item and Coach Cal signed item after item.
I love this experience, and I love this team! Go Cats!