Louisville players prioritizing preparation for the season

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Louisville women’s basketball is placing its priorities around basketball and preparation of the 2020-21 season with the return to campus. Louisville head coach Jeff Walz is pleased with how players are handling the norms set in place by guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The entirety of Louisville’s 2020-21 roster is on campus with the exceptions of Hailey Van Lith, who graduated from Cashmere High School in mid-June and will arrive after the Fourth of July weekend, and Malea Williams, who will join the team in August.

Student-athletes are currently participating in voluntary workouts and have access to the basketball floor. Coaches are allowed to lead players in workouts starting July 20.

Before the University of Louisville closed its campus and student-athlete were sent home, the coaching staff was able to outline summer plans for players that determined areas for improvement.

Walz said the returning players from the 2019-20 team have worked hard away from campus since the season was canceled.

“They know you can’t wait for the official word when you’re allowed to have workouts start up with coaches to start doing something,” Walz said. “They have spent a lot of time on their own.”

With the players returning to campus and beginning voluntary workouts, Walz has yet to hear anyone express concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

The weight room is disinfected after a group uses the facility and the coaching staff disinfects basketballs following groups’ completion of on-court workouts.

“We are doing a pretty remarkable job at UofL at making sure our student athletes are in safe place working out,” Walz said. “We are doing everything and following every precaution that we can to make sure that they are in a good spot.”

Preventive measures don’t begin and end at the athletic facilities. Walz and the coaching staff talks with players about taking precautionary steps outside of the gym and weight room.

He has been pleased with how players have responded to conversations on how to stay healthy.

“The more we can educate them on what they need to do to stay healthy, what they need to do to hopefully allow us to have a season, I think they are going to do,” Walz said. “It’s what basket you put your priorities in. Is it more important to go out to a party or have a college season? I think the young women that I have on my team will put it in the opportunity to have a season.”

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