The Whalen Effect

hungan1

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In less than a month since Lindsay Whalen was hired, the Gophers Women's basketball team was off to a running start in recruiting. They secured one of the State's top players in PG Sara Scalia for Recruiting Class 2019. They also added Top 100 Player (#64 overall) 4 Star PG Mercedes Staples for Recruiting Class 2018. Staples was coached by former WNBA Natalie Williams at the AAU level in Utah. Whalen appears to have been in conversations with Staples and her family for weeks.

(http://www.startribune.com/lindsay-whalen-lands-another-top-100-player-mercedes-staples-coming-to-gophers/482218641/)

“Mercedes is someone that has a lot of different skills and brings a lot to the team,” Whalen said in a release. “She can pass it with the best of them, can see the floor, can shoot and can score it. She’s got great size and length so we’re really excited about her joining our Gopher family.” - a very astute succinct assessment of what Mercedes brings to the Gophers by Whalen.

Is the U becoming Point Guard U? I would expect to see the Gophers recruit like they have never done before.

We have to be excited for Gophers Women's Basketball in the next few years. If the GOphers play uptempo basketball like Whalen is saying, the Barn will be rocking with an exciting brand of basketball! They may sellout the place.

Lindsay Whalen will be a great coach in due time and is a marriage made in heaven for the Gophers. She has to go through baptism by fire along the way. We'll see her grow as a coach. These are exciting times.

Kudos to Mark Coyle for the decisive Whalen gambit, and for not relying on a search committee.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Certainly the high profile will bring maximum local and national scrutiny. Everybody will weigh in on everything. The season's first month will be a challenge for the staff and, hopefully, fun for us.
 

short ornery norwegian

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If you stop and think about it, Whalen is the starting PG on the top team in the WNBA. If you're a girls BB player in HS, and you follow the WNBA, you know who Whalen is. And now, here comes Whalen to recruit you for college.

that would be equivalent to being a top Boys HS BB player, and suddenly here comes Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, or John Wall to recruit you for college.

for HS Girls basketball players, Lindsay Whalen has real star power. That is a huge recruiting advantage if she can leverage it properly.
 

hungan1

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Wouldn't it be nice if she gets a Janel McCarville or Amanda Zahui B type of player to help in the interior and rebounding?
 

Fire McHale

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If you stop and think about it, Whalen is the starting PG on the top team in the WNBA. If you're a girls BB player in HS, and you follow the WNBA, you know who Whalen is. And now, here comes Whalen to recruit you for college.

that would be equivalent to being a top Boys HS BB player, and suddenly here comes Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, or John Wall to recruit you for college.

for HS Girls basketball players, Lindsay Whalen has real star power. That is a huge recruiting advantage if she can leverage it properly.
This is exactly why it's a complete no-brainer to me for the Gophers. She may not be a great coach but she should have plenty of street cred for a while recruiting. Now she just needs to add Maya Moore to the group and she's set.
 

hungan1

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Lindsay Whalen now has Paige Bueckers' ear. She spoke of having a pair of basketball shoes signed by Whalen.

If the new coach is not Whalen, I doubt that she would consider the Gophers. Paige wants to go visit with the Gophers, but it appears that U Conn is doing full court press on her. So, it will be a battle to get her services.

Year one for Whalen is crucial in Paige's recruitment. She is going to watch and see how Whalen does.
 

Shades

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Lindsay Whalen now has Paige Bueckers' ear. She spoke of having a pair of basketball shoes signed by Whalen.
Somehow I don’t think this will be the main criteria used to determine her basketball career. Bueckers recognizes she has a serious basketball career ahead of her. Can she take a team with an inexperienced coach seriously? Better hope the home state advantages mean a lot to Bueckers.

If the new coach was not Whalen, I doubt that she would consider the Gophers.
Unless some new information has cropped up, I believe ND is the leading contender. Part of the reason may be Niele Ivey, who the Gophers probably could have had as a coach.

Paige wants to go visit with the Gophers, but it appears that U Conn is doing full court press on her. So, it will be a battle to get her services.
Did Geno make another visit? He’s starting to look desperate :)

Year one for Whalen is crucial in Paige's recruitment. She is going to watch and see how Whalen does.
Yeah, and what will Whalen be doing? Playing basketball. As far as how the Gophers do their first year, can’t Bueckers commit in November? Doesn’t give Whalen much of a chance to make an impression.
 

hungan1

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Having talent many top programs want is a good problem for Paige Bueckers to have. Will she have enough affinity to the State that Lindsay Whalen had coming out of HS?

This is the reason why Lindsay Whalen is so endeared by people in the State. NOt only is she a proven winner. She stayed home!

I agree that Paige will go where she thinks gives her the best shot to the WNBA. She is going to pen her own legacy. The questions is, will she want to do it at home? She will be reward tenfold, and she'll forever be embedded in the State's consciousness with pride.

If the Gophers come out blazing this coming season under Whalen, then there is promise. But, like Carroll nothing anchors Paige down to her home State.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Question - we look at Whalen now, and see what she has accomplished.

But - was she a highly-rated recruit coming out of HS? Was landing her some huge coup for the Gophers at the time? I honestly don't know. Can one of the recruiting mavens find out how Whalen was regarded coming out of HS? was she a top-100 recruit?
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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http://www.citypages.com/news/powerhouse-how-lindsay-whalen-resurrected-the-lady-gophers/479559683

City Pages, December 2003:

Whalen”s initiation was as dour as they come: one Big Ten victory, no postseason play, and a coach, Cheryl Littlejohn, who was fired for rules violations that brought the program sanctions, stripped scholarships, and to the brink of the NCAA death penalty. Not to mention some of the loneliest sounds known to any basketball player or fan during a game--the thump-thump of a ball bouncing, the squeak-squeak of shoes cutting, the echo-echo of coaches” instructions and players” grunts careening through a nearly empty gym.

“Sometimes we”d have a couple hundred people in there,” says Whalen before practice last month, sitting in the team”s film room located between the Pavilion and Williams. “We”d run out to the song, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” And you just remember this quiet, dull cheer: “Who...let the...dogs out?” It was like the most somber group of people ever assembled. It was seriously like a funeral. Plus there was the fact that it was a group of girls running out to “Who Let the Dogs Out?” It just all didn”t make sense.”...


...But fans will always have the memories of Whalen herself, who came to Minnesota in 2000 with little fanfare, and who will graduate next fall with a sports management degree, and undoubtedly be a top pick in the WNBA draft next year....

...Recruited by Iowa, Wisconsin, and North Dakota, Whalen chose Minnesota because, “obviously, it”s your home. Home state. Your home team.”


And there's this, which may add some insight to her coaching style years later:

“There”s like 10 plays that I just go through in my mind. One time in high school against Holy Angels I drove between a girl”s legs, split a trap between her legs, brought it to half-court and made a no-look pass through the two defenders to score.”
Coach Borton is reading this right now and shuddering.

“What”s the worst that can happen?” says Whalen with a grin. “Turn it over? It”s not like someone”s gonna get hurt, or you”ll get ejected. Worst that can happen is they yell at you and take you out for a minute, but you go back in the game anyway.”
 

FiveOut

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Question - we look at Whalen now, and see what she has accomplished.

But - was she a highly-rated recruit coming out of HS? Was landing her some huge coup for the Gophers at the time? I honestly don't know. Can one of the recruiting mavens find out how Whalen was regarded coming out of HS? was she a top-100 recruit?
It has been 20 years since Whalen was a high school sophomore like Bueckers, and the recruiting landscape has changed so much in that time. It's difficult to even make a comparison. Not much Twitter recruiting back then! :)
 

MennoSota

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Question - we look at Whalen now, and see what she has accomplished.

But - was she a highly-rated recruit coming out of HS? Was landing her some huge coup for the Gophers at the time? I honestly don't know. Can one of the recruiting mavens find out how Whalen was regarded coming out of HS? was she a top-100 recruit?
The huge coup was landing Janel McCarvel. I had a friend whose daughter played in Wisconsin (she went on to play at Harvard) and predicted that MN had just landed one of the top centers in the country with the signing of McCarvel.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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http://www.gophersports.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/110201aaa.html

What they said at the time:

Few incoming Gopher rookies have come into Minnesota with the accolades of center Janel McCarville. Nicknamed "Shaq" for obvious reasons, McCarville has the potential to become the most dominating post player the Gophers have seen in years.

"Janel is a physical, banging type of post player who we will be going to early and often," said Oldfield of the prized newcomer. "It's ironic to say you'll be counting on a rookie, but we are going to have to count on her this year. She will see a substantial amount of playing time."

As for her nickname, Oldfield continues, "Shaq is a very fitting nickname in that Janel very much resembles the LA Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal personality-wise and in her game in the sense of low post presence and how physical and dominating she can be down low. She's a great passer from the high post and an unselfish player. I just hope she doesn't shoot free throws like him."
 

Mulligan

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Somehow I don’t think this will be the main criteria used to determine her basketball career. Bueckers recognizes she has a serious basketball career ahead of her. Can she take a team with an inexperienced coach seriously? Better hope the home state advantages mean a lot to Bueckers.

Yeah, and what will Whalen be doing? Playing basketball. As far as how the Gophers do their first year, can’t Bueckers commit in November? Doesn’t give Whalen much of a chance to make an impression.
Well, I think watching Whalen play will make an impression. I realize there will be doubts, but watching Lindsay run the Lynx offense, play with passion, being an obvious leader on the court, conferring with one of the best basketball coaches around, etc. will also count for a lot. Whether or not that's enough to trump Geno or ND who knows, but it's going to give us a pretty good chance.
 

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Heard Darren Wolfson of KSTC report tonight that Gophers women's basketball has sold 600 new season tickets since the naming of the new coach.
 

hungan1

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The recent additions to the Gophers look very promising on paper. I am particularly excite about Staples, Cumming, and Scalia.

If Whalen espouses (FIFY) Cheryl Reeve's system and allow player to do what they're best at and improving upon that, my feeling is that the Gophers will be exciting to watch. She's got selfless players with serious skills.

I think the speed of the Gophers game will much faster with good team defense. We shall soon see.
 

dpodoll68

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If Whalen eschews Cheryl Reeve's system and allow player to do what they're best at and improving upon that, my feeling is that the Gophers will be exciting to watch.
Cheryl Reeve doesn't do those things?
 

hungan1

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Cheryl Reeve doesn't do those things?
Oops! Meant to write espouses, FIFY.

I can see where wrong choice of a word can derail peace talks LOL. People hang by every word.
 

hungan1

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The MN Lynx losing streak was broken last night when they beat the Mystics 80-88. I wonder how much of their season start is affected by Whalen doing double duty? The next question is, when will she hang it all up as far as playing professionally?
 

ecoperson

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Double Duty

The MN Lynx losing streak was broken last night when they beat the Mystics 80-88. I wonder how much of their season start is affected by Whalen doing double duty? The next question is, when will she hang it all up as far as playing professionally?
I honestly don't think Whalen's work as coach has impacted the Lynx in any way. I think you can attribute their start to a team that is getting up there in years- Whalen included- playing a compressed schedule. They have given up late leads in almost all of the games. That points to dead legs to me as these champions otherwise know the mental way to close out games.

I imagine that Whalen will play this year and then see how she is feeling. If she thinks she can contribute, she will come back next season.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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https://www.swishappeal.com/2018/6/...illiams-cooked-the-minnesota-lynx-on-saturday

What others are saying:


2 reasons the Lynx lost
Lindsay Whalen. The multi-champ for the Lynx has become a liability to her team. The causes of her struggles have not been reported, but it is easy enough to deduce that she is distracted with her University of Minnesota head coaching duties, or playing through injury, or just playing her way into game conditioning. This is not a knock against Whalen, but an acknowledgment of human limitations when it comes to working two full-time jobs. In 17 minutes, Whalen scored 0 points, grabbed 1 rebound, snagged 1 steal and dished 0 assists. The good news? Whalen did not commit any turnovers.



http://www.norwichbulletin.com/sports/20180610/former-sun-star-whalen-takes-on-college-coaching-job

MOHEGAN — Former Connecticut Sun and now Minnesota veteran guard Lindsay Whalen looked tired on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena...

...Whalen is also dealing with serving two masters. In April, she accepted a job as head coach of the University of Minnesota women’s basketball program.

“It’s been a fun challenge. There have been ups and downs, just like this season for me on the court where there have been some downs for me. I’m just trying to stay positive and understand that we have a great team and I have a lot of great teammates,” Whalen said. “The first month or so before training camp started, I was focused on what I needed to do (as a head coach) and what it takes to do the job successfully. Since the season started, it’s been more of balancing.

“I have hired my assistant coaches since then, which is nice because they have been able to hold it down since I’ve been gone.“...


...Whalen said she has also spent some time picking the brains of Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve and Lynx assistants Shelley Patterson and James Wade as well as others to get a feel for the job.
“I’ve been trying to understand a little more from a coach’s perspective on motivation, breaking down games, how to structure a practice,” Whalen said. “I’ve texted with a lot of friends within the business who have also offered a lot of advice.“

The Golden Gophers cupboard is not bare.

Minnesota finished 24-9 last season and lost to Oregon in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Three of the top four scorers — Kenisha Bell (20.0), Gadiva Hubbard (13.6) and Destiny Pitts (13.3) — return next season.
“We graduated some key players, but I think we just have to set our foundation, understand what it takes every day in workouts and come together as a team,” Whalen said. “I’m looking forward to making sure we’re always working in the right direction.”
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

More national exposure: Whalen on OTL talking about her double duty.
 

ecoperson

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Still Not Buying...

that Whalen's coaching has ANYTHING to do with the Lynx level of play. No offense to Lindsay but she has likely been the weakest member of the starting 5 for a couple seasons. The rest are studs. I can't imagine everyone is in a funk because all they can think and talk about is Whalen's new gig. The Lynx have survived Whalen's injuries in the past... she is not the straw that stirs the drink.
 

whalenfan

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that Whalen's coaching has ANYTHING to do with the Lynx level of play. No offense to Lindsay but she has likely been the weakest member of the starting 5 for a couple seasons. The rest are studs. I can't imagine everyone is in a funk because all they can think and talk about is Whalen's new gig. The Lynx have survived Whalen's injuries in the past... she is not the straw that stirs the drink.
Agree with this. I know her shootings been down this year but she dont look much different to me than the last couple years. The big difference so far is the lynx bench is dreadful. They got worse in the offseason while every other team got better. If her coaching was gonna impact her playing with the lynx it would be starting now with the players just getting back on campus and summer workouts starting.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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https://www.sbnation.com/wnba/2018/6/13/17444666/lindsay-whalen-lynx-coach-minnesota-gophers

My concern is less about the Lynx than it is Lindsay trying to do a full time coaching job as a part timer.

Here's an SB Nation article (emphasis added):

Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen walked side-by-side with her head coach, Cheryl Reeve, ahead of her teammates into the tunnel at halftime with a six-point lead over the Washington Mystics. Rather than a player-coach talk, really, it was two coaches talking to each other.

This year is much different for Whalen, who is not only playing her usual role as the starting point guard for the most dominant franchise in the league, but also beginning her first summer as the Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach.

“Lindsay is on a whole other agenda,” her teammate and current MVP Sylvia Fowles told SB Nation. “She’s like a Player Boss Lady. I wouldn’t want her job, but that’s why she got it, because she’s good at it.”

If you think Whalen’s job balancing her play as the starting point guard of a defending champion team with being the head coach of a Division 1 basketball team sounds tough... you’re right.

Whalen hasn’t been in her office at Minnesota’s campus in nearly three weeks. As of Thursday night, she’d been on the road or playing in a professional basketball game for 16 of 18 days. Things haven’t gone the usual way for her team either, which is having one of its worst starts in recent memory. It’s been a whirlwind.


Whalen’s been focusing on her rest as her team fights through a lengthy road trip. She has to pick when to run on overdrive and when to let the rest of her coaching staff take the reigns.

“I think my first couple weeks I had tons of energy because I was busy all of the time,” Whalen said. Since then, things haven’t been the same. The point guard hasn’t looked her full self, shooting well below her typical percentages. She knows that.
 

whalenfan

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Whalen hasn’t been in her office at Minnesota’s campus in nearly three weeks. As of Thursday night, she’d been on the road or playing in a professional basketball game for 16 of 18 days. Things haven’t gone the usual way for her team either, which is having one of its worst starts in recent memory. It’s been a whirlwind.


Since you emphasized that quote, The last few weeks is the time most coaches go on vacations and take off from campus. Its a non viewing period so other than facetime/texts/calls, theres not much else to do. Also players werent on campus til this weekend. Now is when the player/coach is gonna be hard for her.
 

hungan1

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This season will be a real test.

IMHO, this will be the defining year for Whalen. If she can wear two hats we will soon find out. She may not be the best of the starting five at this stage in her professional career, but she can still play a role. She is 36 and still playing is awesome. But, there comes a time when you have to let go and hang it up...
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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http://www.startribune.com/lynx-coa...as-they-fight-to-climb-out-of-hole/485410861/

Cheryl Reeve says:


Reeve then went on to describe some things she thought might be happening. All the players might not be putting the Lynx first, she suggested. “It’s not, ‘Minnesota Lynx No. 1,’” she said. “It’s like, 1A, and there is a B and C. That can’t happen. For this group it’s always been Minnesota Lynx No. 1. We didn’t share that spot with anything.”...

...Asked immediately about Lindsay Whalen — who is juggling both playing and coaching— Reeve defended her point guard.

“She’s immersed in it,” Reeve said of Whalen’s coaching job at the University of Minnesota. “But when she’s here she does turn it off. I don’t think you can escape the idea of it being No. 1 and 1A, but that’s something we agreed to. And it’s not the root of our problem.”
 

GringaGopher

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Syl and Maya have to pick up their games. Whalen has always been a role player although an important piece. I think the loss of their super subs and the new bench not being in the flow yet has really hurt the Lynx. I hope Whalen will get energized with start of summer practices.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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https://theathletic.com/391235/2018/06/14/lindsay-whalen-gophers-kelly-roysland-mark-coyle-coach/

Tyler Mason in the Athletic:


The impact of Whalen’s hiring has not only given the university an emotional boost, but a tangible (and financial) one, too. In the two months since the news broke, the women’s basketball program has added more than 700 new season tickets to bring the total up to over 2,000 for the 2018-19 season...


...Roysland and Whalen kept in touch over the years. Whalen would sometimes drop by to watch games at Macalester, and Roysland would ask her former teammate about what she envisioned for a life after her playing career. Whalen mentioned some business opportunities as possibilities. Coaching was always an option, too, but Roysland wasn’t sure how much interest Whalen actually had in leading a program.

The answer, it turned out, was quite a bit. And the opportunity to return to her alma mater and coach alongside Whalen was too good for Roysland to pass up.

“When Lindsay talked about (how) the university changed her life and the path in which she’s taken in the WNBA and professionally, that really resonated with me,” Roysland said. “This place changed my life. It afforded me tons of opportunity. And now Lindsay giving me the opportunity to come back with her and help her is obviously — we’ve had a great relationship over the years, so to have her reach out, it meant a lot.”...

...“A lot of people have been asking our team, ‘How does she do that? How does your coach still play in the WNBA?’” said Destiny Pitts, who was unanimously named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year this past season. “She’ll be with the Lynx in the morning and then she’ll be with us in the afternoon. We’re in classes in the morning anyway, so we can’t really see it’s having a huge affect on us in a negative way. I’d say it’s all positive. Even though she’s doing both, she’s really open. She’s told us we can call her whenever we want to or need anything. I think that’s good.”
 
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