Questions from a casual fan about Whalen

2nd Degree Gopher

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
1,211
Reaction score
241
Points
63
I have not followed women's basketball closely over the last few years, but root for their success. When Whalen was hired I was excited by the idea of having the most popular and accomplished player in team history leading the program. I figured it would take time for her to find her footing as a coach and build a team that reflected what she wanted it to be, but the possible upside of the hire seemed worth the risk. I understand that this year is unusual and I imagine it's harder for lesser experienced coaches, but from the outside it feels to me like something is a bit off with the direction and production of the team.

So with all of that as a backdrop, I figured I would come here and ask those of you who follow the team closely a few questions:

1) Do you share my feeling that something seems not quite right?

2) Do you feel like Whalen is, in fact, growing into the job?

3) Do you see a discernible plan for what she wants the team to be?

4) Are we making progress toward the goal?

5) Is she recruiting at the level you expected?

6) Where did you envision that Whalen could take the team when she was hired and are you more or less confident now that she will get them there?

Thanks to anyone who is willing to share their thoughts!
 

bball_craz_26

Active member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
489
Reaction score
93
Points
28
1. I feel things have not seemed to fully click after the Pitts situation last year. Powell and Scalia were close to Pitts so there might be some hold over issues that at times pop up. When things are going well, you can see the connection, however I feel they break apart sometimes too easily.

2. Yes. She learned that first year when they started 2-7 in the Big Ten that she was no longer a teammate of players, she needed to be more of a coach. You can tell she has learned how to set standards and hold them to it. The Penn State game showed her growing ability to connect with players, especially Powell. My feel however is that she needs to get a defensive minded and a post coach on her staff. Coach Carly is great for recruiting and guard play. The other two I feel should be replaced with the type of coaches listed above

3. I think its changed since she took over, but you can see it. When she first took it over, her goal was to recruit the state of Minnesota harder and to get the team back to top 25 status consistently. However, after the Pitts and Bellos situation last year, she changed to trying to recruit the right type of people and players. She is looking for hard workers, players who are team first, and players who wanna be here.

4. Yes. She has brought good locker room people in like Mershon and Laura Bagwell-Katalinich. She gets recruits coming in that wanna be at Minnesota and look to be team first. I feel there is improvement in terms of team attitude and connection, but losing can't be fun for anyone.

5. When you look at the class of 2022, she absolutely has knocked recruiting out of the park. Her main goal (although every coach at Minnesota says it) was to recruit the State better. She signed Sara Scalia one month after getting the Job. 2020s were already long in the recruitment process for them to have a fighting chance. They swung big in 2021 going after the main 2 in MN and missed out. They did sign Maggie Czinano and Katie Borowicz who are those good locker room kids who wanna be here. For 2022 they already have 3 of the top 6 rated players verbally committed and are hot on the trail of a 4th one and still very much in her top running. so yes, she has shown she can recruit, at least the state of Minnesota, her next step has to be developing them and also getting most athletic post players to come in here.

6. I'm cautiously optimistic. I stand by Carly is the only assistant needs to stay, and Whalen needs to get a defensive minded one and a post coach. If they can get those both in one coach, that would be better but those are needed to help Whalen in her short comings. Her original staff was people she was comfortable with, its time to grow and move on from what's not working. Recruitment as stated is going good, they need to keep that momentum up, winning more could help that. If next season is a regular season in terms of practice, schedule etc, it will be a make or break season I feel for Whalen to show things are turning around.



1) Do you share my feeling that something seems not quite right?

2) Do you feel like Whalen is, in fact, growing into the job?

3) Do you see a discernible plan for what she wants the team to be?

4) Are we making progress toward the goal?

5) Is she recruiting at the level you expected?

6) Where did you envision that Whalen could take the team when she was hired and are you more or less confident now that she will get them there?
 

GringaGopher

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 21, 2015
Messages
2,802
Reaction score
453
Points
83
Good review by BBC. I would add 1. I think the fact that all the remaining players came back after Pitts departed says that in general the team was OK. That's not to say her leaving did not have an impact because we are missing her poise, points and leadership this season. I believe that loss was a tremendous learning experience for Whalen. 2. If you listen to the many interviews with Whalen she's transparent about the significant learning curve in this transition to coaching. I believe she has the humility to ask and get help. She has spoken a number of times about using Cheryl Reeves as a resource. 3. You can see the vision she has for the team in her interactions with Powell. This is the first season I have seen her call out Powell and then run to hug her when she executed the desired offense. I agree with the need to improve the development of our post players. 4. Visible progress is being made albeit never as fast as many of us fans want to see happen. 5. Recruiting has improved a lot for next year. You have to be careful with rankings because it's only part of the story. Smith is the first 5 star @ MN basketball for the men's or women's team. Whalen is in her 3rd year and Pitino is in his 8th. 6. Whalen had said her goal is to get back to the final four and win ! I would like to see us be a MD like team where we are consistently contending for the Big title and are a top 20 team . I have confidence in Whalen and I believe we will see a big jump in the next few years.
 

2nd Degree Gopher

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
1,211
Reaction score
241
Points
63
Thank you to you both for your thorough and thoughtful responses, I greatly appreciate your insight.
 

MaxyJR1

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
7,769
Reaction score
528
Points
113
Where does one find out about women's recruiting? I see on ESPN that she got 3 top 100 players in 20-21.
 

gopher572

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
73
Reaction score
19
Points
8
Where does one find out about women's recruiting? I see on ESPN that she got 3 top 100 players in 20-21.
This is a pretty good list to start with.

It does not include everyone who may have an offer but does have all of the signed and verbals. If you check out the threads on the specific classes on this forum, you can see some other names of players with offers.
 

samloupete

True Gold
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
365
Reaction score
17
Points
18
Lindsay is recruiting well. Having that 6’3” interior presence is the only thing keeping this team from being very good. I would like to see her experiment more with a variety of line-ups especially when things aren’t working. Scalia can shoot and so can Hubbard. It looks like Strande can as well. Add Powell, Borowicz and Sissoko and maybe be more of a run gun team.
 

bball_craz_26

Active member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
489
Reaction score
93
Points
28
Where does one find out about women's recruiting? I see on ESPN that she got 3 top 100 players in 20-21.
If you are wondering about known targets, here is the list of 2022, 2023, 2024 known/public offers out there.

2022:

Offered/In-state:

Amaya Battle
-Hopkins-Hopkins-5’11 Guard

Out of State Offers:

Ayanna Patterson,
6’3 W, Fort Wayne HS (IN) ESPN Ranked #3

Alyssa Crockett, 6’2 W, Westfield HS (IN) ESPN Ranked #36

Emily LaChapell, 5’11 W, Appleton East (WI)

Aaliyah Smith, 5’5 PG, Verona HS (WI)

2023:

Offered/In-state:

Nunu Agara
-Hopkins-6’2 Forward ESPN Ranked #20

Taylor Woodson-Hopkins-5’11 Forward ESPN Ranked #24

Tessa Johnson-St. Michael/Albertville-5’9 Guard

Out of State Offers:

Kamorea Arnold
, 5’6 PG, Germantown (WI) ESPN Ranked #5

Jordan Wood, 6’2 F, Camel Catholic HS (IN)

Eve Fiala, 6’4 C, Indiana HS (PA)

Jasmine Timmerson, 5’9 PG, North Allegheny (PA)

Laila Hull, 6’1 F, Zionsville (IN)

Lisa Thompson, 5’8 G, Joliet West (IL)

2024:

Offered/In-State:

Olivia Olson-
Benilde-St. Margaret’s-6’0 Guard (ESPN Watchlist)

Out of State Offers:

Chloe Spreen,
5’9 G, Bedford North Lawrence (IN) (ESPN Watchlist)

Allie Ziebell, 6’0 W, Neenah HS (WI)

Katie Vasecka, 6’1 G, Tea (SD)
 

BigTenGuy

Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
70
Reaction score
10
Points
8
You have to be careful with rankings because it's only part of the story. Smith is the first 5 star @ MN basketball for the men's or women's team.
Agree on the good review by BBC, and appreciate the comments by GringaGopher, including those about being careful with rankings, especially when presented by the Gopher SID's office (or whatever it is called now) in misleading fashion. Calling Smith a 5-star recruit is misleading, and sets her up for failure to meet false expectations. While an early version of ESPN's 1-person rankings for the 2020 class, long before HS graduation, had Smith as a 5-star, by the time of her graduation, ESPN had downgraded her to a 4-star before she graduated. Even then, ESPN had Smith ranked way higher (at 68), than anyone else: Prospects Nation # 121; Blue Star # 152 (for comparison, Scalia was at 148 the year before); and ASGR # 126. Though she is from Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State never came through with a scholarship offer for Smith (according to wbbblog.com). In short, it was crazy for gophersports.com to highlight a later downgraded (and minority review) ranking to create false expectations about a player.
 
Top Bottom