Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Not Just the Hawkeyes, the Badgers Are After Our Girls, Too

The Wisconsin Badgers announced the other day that 2 Minnesota girls will be making official visits to Madison. Both are 6-3 post players in the class of 2011: Apiew Ojulu of Lakeville North, and Bethany Doolittle of Hill-Murray. Ojulu's final list of schools was said to include the Badgers and Marquette, while Doolittle's, according to the Badger Web site, are Wisconsin, Marquette and Iowa.

I don't have too much heartburn over the Gophers' lack of interest in the 2. The Gophers, after all, have 6-7 Amber Dvorak and 6-4 Katie Loberg on their roster and both are youngsters. Not to mention, I haven't yet seen the strength, mobility or aggressiveness needed to be successful in D1 from Doolittle. Ojulu has more of each of those traits but has a long way to go on fundamentals.

I'd have more of a problem if the Gophers fail to move on some of the 2012s that the Badgers mentioned in the same article--players who apparently will be making unofficial visits to Madison this fall. They include:

• Tessa Cichy, Doolittle's teammate at Hill-Murray
• Jackie Johnson, 6-2 post from Eden Prairie
• Whitney Tinjum, play-everywhere, do-everything player for Chisago Lakes

Jade Martin, perhaps the top 2013 in Minnesota, from Bloomington Kennedy, will also be visiting UW.

The basketball world is probably highest on Cichy among these four. She is a lock-down defender and proved that she can score in last spring's state tournament, though it's been noted that her shooting mechanics are not good and she has had some pretty bad shooting nights (4-for-17 one night I saw her). Still, she had a great summer season and, as a result, has reportedly been pursued by the Duke Blue Devils. Her dad played football at Notre Dame and, so, the Fighting Irish are also said to be in the hunt. So, why a visit to Madison?

I've been very high on Johnson since I saw her in the state tournament as a freshman. She really blossomed during the summer season just past. But it's true that she's a bit of a tweener. She's played nothing but the post her entire career, but is a little small for the position in D1. Still, she's perhaps the most athletic 6-2 Minnesota has ever seen, and I remain convinced that she'll be a star at D1. I would concur with those of you who have said, and I've heard it several times: Hey, Pam Borton, what are you waiting for? Sign her up! Now!

As for Tinjum, I haven't seen enough of her to say very much, except that she combines size (6-1) the quickness and other perimeter attributes of much smaller girls. She hasn't gotten much notoriety because her team is not prominent come March. But she could be the #1 girl in her class by the time it's all been said and done.

Finally, there's Jade Martin. Some say she's the best girl in Minnesota in her class, knowing full well that she's in the same class as Rebekah Dahlman. Well, it's a bit early to worry about that. And it's true that Martin is the anti-Dahlman in one respect. If anything, Dahlman is too aggressive, sometimes getting ahead of herself and charging into traps and other situations she can't quite handle. In Martin's case, we're waiting for ignition. She's got great skills, but the aggressiveness seems thus far to be lacking. Perhaps she's been inclined to defer to the older girls on her team. Well, soon enough, she'll be the older girl and I suspect we'll see her blossom into a bona fide high-D1 prospect. Maybe this is the year.

In summary, it says here that the Gopher women could do worse than grabbing Jackie Johnson, Jade Martin and Whitney Tinjum. It's bad enough seeing girls like Alyssa Karel and, soon, Cassie Rochel wearing Badger red. Let's stop the bleeding.

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