EVANSVILLE – Mail time!
I haven’t gotten that many questions this round, but there’s not much going on in local sports either, at least not collegially. Congratulations to the Boonville softball team and the Jasper and Southridge baseball teams for their playoff runs.
This mailbag (as usual) will be heavy on events at the University of Evansville, so without further ado …
► A few people have contacted recently to ask why Tyra Buss is no longer listed as an Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach in the EU.
Buss played at nearby Mount Carmel High School, becoming the state of Illinois’ top career scorer. She remained a star in college setting the Indiana University career scoring record and leading the Hoosiers to a WNIT title in 2018.
But last year she went from player to coach and accepted her first EU staff job. She then stayed through a change of coach, quickly establishing a relationship with new female coach Robyn Scherr-Wells.
The EU announced on May 24 that Buss would return as an assistant for the 2021-22 season. Then, three days later, Buss tweeted “God is good all the time! Always have confidence in its timing! “
She is no longer listed on the EU website and EU has since hired someone else.
Buss made the personal decision to leave the EU. She is expected to find a landing spot elsewhere to get closer to her boyfriend Brad Davidson, a University of Wisconsin men’s basketball star. This hiring has not been made public.
► Speaking of the new Ace women’s basketball coaches …
October is going to be a busy month for Scherr-Wells.
She announced on social media two weeks ago that she was expecting her first child, a boy, in October after 10 years of infertility. Although her EU debut may be delayed depending on the length of maternity leave she takes, this is great news.
The rest of the staff are full too. UE announced that Tori Jarosz was the last hire on June 10. She just finished a five-year professional career and attended WNBA training camp with the Dallas Wings this year.
Joining her will be assistant coach Kara Carlson, who has spent the past three years in the same role at Division II Grand Valley State, as well as Tanaeya BoClair, a holdover from last year’s staff under Matt Ruffing. Felicia Aiyeotan will once again be a graduate assistant and Max Ethridge is the new director of basketball operations.
► No camps, no signs of players in town for practice yet, no community / fan engagement to generate excitement for the coming season. Seem to remember a speech mentioning not settling for the status quo yet here we are. Disappointing. – Sam G.
He’s been quiet lately, so I asked around.
EU basketball players are moving in this weekend for summer school and practice, which is why the EU has not been as active on social media as many other programs. The “Summer 2” semester starts Monday and ends July 22, and during that time I’m hoping to make a few stops at the Fifth Third Practice Facility to get the coverage back on track. I haven’t spoken to Todd Lickliter or any of the players in person since March 5, 2020.
The EU is also actively discussing how and when it will restart public fan engagement events. Similar to the media / coaching dynamic, hardly anyone in the community was able to speak to Lickliter or Scherr-Wells. The EU recognizes this.
► What do we know about the program outside the Aces conference? And who is your favorite Courier & Press reporter? – Jean M
► See if you can find out when they are playing their Florida vacation tournament and dates – Darrell S.
I haven’t learned any new information about the Aces calendar since my last mailbag in May. (John, since you’re the only colleague who asked a question, I’ll do you the honor.)
The EU has yet to publicly announce if they will play a buy game just yet and that could be detrimental as they also failed to receive the $ 85,000 that Purdue promised last year once. this game canceled. Those big salaries usually fund the rest of the non-conference roster.
As I reported last month, UE is supposed to play a multi-team event around Thanksgiving in Fort Myers, Florida. Still, the “Fort Myers Tip-Off” was announced this week and the Aces are not among the eight teams.
News on schedules tends to pick up later in the summer anyway as information leaks.
This will be our first real glimpse into Lickliter’s planning philosophy given the challenges the pandemic brought over the past year. The house’s slate, however, could be disappointing.
► Any news on recruitment? – Ryan J.
Aces staff were not allowed to see anyone play in person for 15 months until the dead recruiting period ended on June 1. Most coaches would like to, you know, maybe in fact see a child play before offering. There are live assessment opportunities the next two weekends and throughout July.
Tuesday also marked the first day that coaches were allowed to contact the 2023 rookies directly.
Others have reported that the Aces have been in contact with the following, but none have been offered:
- 2022: Charlie Williams, a 6-10 forward from Carmel High School. It was donated by Youngstown State and Florida Atlantic.
- 2022: Connor Essegian, a 6-4 guard at Central Noble High School. It holds offers from Belmont, Northern Kentucky, IUPUI, Valparaiso, Western Michigan, and Lipscomb.
- 2023: Sam Orne, a 6-8 forward from Carmel High School. EU spoke to him on Tuesday in addition to Purdue, Illinois, Iowa, Butler, Illinois State, Indiana State and Miami (Ohio), among others.
- 2023: JaQualon “JQ” Roberts, a 6-7 wing from Bloomington North High School who has also heard from Butler, Indiana, Miami (Ohio), Cincinnati, Utah, Northern Illinois and Coastal Carolina, among others.
- 2023: Dallas Roberts, a 6-1 point guard from North Oldham High School in Kentucky. Other schools to contact him include Bellarmine, Western Kentucky, Belmont, and Holy Cross.
- 2023: Logan Imes, a 6-4 Zionsville goaltender. Indiana, Western Michigan, Florida Atlantic and Butler are also showing interest.
► Have you heard of Jawuan or Shamar considering using the extra COVID year? -Mitch S.
► When do freshmen arrive on campus? Do you have access to the practices again? Do you see Blake Sisley being an impact freshman? -Mitch S.
I haven’t heard if this year’s seniors are going to use an extra year like Evan Kuhlman and Noah Frederking will for their fifth season this winter. Either way, those decisions from Shamar Givance, Jawaun Newton and whoever won’t be made until March anyway. The one-time transfer rule will also have an impact. That’s not to say that anyone will leave, but everyone’s list from year to year will be unpredictable.
I should have access to training again soon and I will give a look back at Blake Sisley’s situation. It’s hard to gauge how much a freshman will play. For example, Trey Hall didn’t see much action last year despite being a well-regarded signer. I think Sisley’s play will translate well at this level; it’s just hard to estimate.
►Do you have a 2021 version of the scholarship table? -Brian H.
The EU played last season with an open purse and looks set to keep one open again this year. It’s a balanced roster full of players who should complement each other.
► Refresh our memories: who are the most recent SIAC QB / RB / WRs to have seen playing time at an FBS school and what comes to your mind as you struggle to think about it and do research ? – Path.
I believe the answer is Matt McIntosh, two-time Courier & Press All-Metro Player of the Year in Reitz, who played in 22 games in three seasons at Northern Illinois.
Otherwise, Michael Lindauer (formerly in Cincinnati) and David Felton (former guest from Indiana) are the only two SIAC players in those positions to even make an FBS roster in the past five years.
I’m not sure why SIAC doesn’t produce a lot of football talent, although a handful of linemen have had shots over the past decade. Maybe it’s because there are so many good basketball and baseball players out there?
► What do you think of the new MLB foreign substance policy and apparently related injuries? – Cole C.
I do not know why now must be the time for a change of policy and I think that has led to an increase in injuries in recent weeks. Players have stepped up their routines since February – and these substances have been in use for longer than this year – so MLB should live with them until they can once again show up to the bargaining table with the players during the off-season. If MLB controls the balls and teams can heal them as they please, why can’t pitchers control their catch?
Baseball is a game of adjustments.
► If you were an AP college football voter, where would you rank the Hoosiers entering the 2021 season after a 6-1 Big Ten record a year ago? -Zane C.
My take is that there shouldn’t be a college football rankings until the season has ended a few weeks, because every year someone comes in with a top 10 ranking, has a poor campaign and ends without classification. Who really knows who the # 14 or # 21 team is without at least a small sample?
ESPN’s REIT ranks them 25th. Mark me for # 20 in the poll.