It’s not often you can keep a secret in women’s basketball. It’s even a bigger accomplishment if you can keep some type of national caliber recruiting information under wraps. Had Covid-19 and all the accompanying boundaries of the novel coronavirus not set up shop, we (Blue Star) were going to reveal some unknown and genuinely hard to find “sleepers” this weekend in New Orleans as a highlight of the highly anticipated Blue Star Saturday. All four young ladies are European based and have an eager stamp of approval from our on the ground staff of Dan Bowmaker, Paul Nilsen and Pierre Ploszajski. It was an even greater challenge having them keep the lid on their cloak and dagger trip over two weeks back, just before the doors slammed shut on international travel.
Yes, that’s right, four legitimate Power Five prospects have been stranded on the ground in the states for over two weeks now with no gym, no tournaments and limited workouts to take the cover off this carefully planned unveiling. Now, with no end in sight and travel back across the Atlantic virtually impossible, the obvious question becomes…what’s next?
The last place anyone would look for them or even expect Flynn Inc. to stash his latest Fab Four would be in Houston with this writer. A 35 plus year career in coaching and media carefully crafted with above the board, by the book, unbiased work and now I’m the one operating the “safe house” and guarding the gates. Then again, given the level of talent, size (All 6-2 and up) and potential for immediate Top 20 impact, it makes perfect sense that he put them in the last place the phone might be ringing or the rumors might be flying. I’m not the guy you call for the inside scoop or to get a good word dropped on your behalf. Believe me, this is going to be one stampede I want no part of.
The irony is that all have completely open minds on the recruiting process. Oh, they’re fully aware of who’s who…and what’s what in NCAA Division–I Basketball…but still want to look at all their options and take their time. These are my people!! Three possess one more year experience than the fourth yet all refreshingly fail to understand the American rush to make a decision or feel a loyalty to something they’ve only read about or watched online. By the way, that younger athlete has the size and the skills to play right now but lacks the maturity and experience. In good time….
It’s a miracle word hasn’t slipped out on this quartet. Before the actual lockdown they held their own against a select group of former women’s players averaging 32 years of age and all with Division–I and some WNBA on their résumé in an eight quarter scrimmage. While Generation Next didn’t rule the day they had several of their veteran opponents looking for information to pass on to their alma maters. Naturally, we nipped that in the bud still holding out hopes for the planned Grand Reveal in New Orleans.
Part of the past two weeks was time set aside for some immersion in the recruiting process as well as some selective unofficial visits. Obviously those visits have wisely and respectively been rescheduled. While not formally prohibited, their individual workouts with a highly regarded personal trainer have also been cancelled out of proper appreciation and understanding of the potential of the coronavirus pandemic. So, in lieu of the gym, we’ve kept them on the phone and online doing homework on programs that intrigue them. While things haven’t gone as planned we’ve helped them get a firm understanding of what lies ahead of them and how the NCAA recruiting process works.
So …what is next for what quite possibly could be an impact group looking to change the fortunes of one program? With Blue Star and Mike Flynn looking out for their interests over the course of the past year and specifically on this trip and virus detour it stands to reason the “portal” to Fab Four 2020 goes through Philadelphia. Continually looking to grow the game and put the players first, Flynn, as always, pledges to maintain objectivity and fair access to his new protégés.