I want to give kids out there a lesson on how to prepare for college. I have been ranting about this topic for years. I watched Sarah Karpell and Fordham University play yesterday. Afterwards I was totally blown away by performance. But in hind sight I should not have been at all.
This fall before the season started I asked my daughter an asst. coach at Fordham University; how Sarah Karpell was doing? She told “dad Sarah is going to play a lot for us”. I was not sure if that was the company line or if she meant. But after watching Sarah Karpell play, one thing is clear. She is not going to play but she already is a MAJOR part of Fordham’s team.
Fordham plays in the A-10. This is big time basketball, with big time arena’s, big time players and coaches. This is a league where Head Coaches and asst. coaches make hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is the level where winning matters. Let me explain to you about basketball at this level. Coaches play freshman at this level, major minutes at the wing and post positions…NOT AT THE POINT GUARD POSITION. They certainly don’t put the ball in a Freshman’s hands for 30 plus mins. They don’t give them the ball late in games. But more than this, they don’t let them control the pace or be the traffic cop of the team. Well guess what? Stephanie Gaitley is breaking all the rules. Because she has given the keys to the car to her freshman, former SJV star Sarah Karpell and is rewarding Coach Gaitley nicely.
Yesterday against Big East opponent Georgetown, Fordham got the “W”. Georgetown is big, athletic, quick and strong. All the things Sarah Karpell is not. Yesterday, it did Georgetown no good being any of those things I mentioned, why? Because SARAH KARPELL has seen this movie before. You see Sarah Karpell grew up watching the best point guard in Shore history Jackie Kates. She watched Shore Player of the year Kaitlyn Linney. Then she watched and played with current DePaul All American Kelly Campbell. You see Sarah Karpell has a Doctrine in how to lead and compete on a basketball court. Yesterday she scored exactly O points and may have been the most important player in the gym. She had one turnover(I didn’t see it) the entire day, against the athletic, long and lighting quick, insanely physical, Georgetown team. She found her teammates all night and made so many extra passes it made my head spin… by the way the hockey asst. needs to become a stat. If it was yesterday, Sarah would have had a dozen. Despite all this, her defense is what gave Fordham the edge it needed. Her ability to control offensive studs is special as is her ability to create loose balls. Even the loose ball and rebounds she created that she didn’t get, was impressive.
So why is Sarah Karpell so effective and so ready to play in college; at this level? There are certainly bigger and more athletic kids that Sarah. But here is where the lesson begins. Have you ever noticed how ALL SJV KIDS BLOW UP IN COLLEGE? Well, here is why. Those highly recruited guards Sarah played against yesterday… well that’s nothing new. Sarah Karpell has played against just about every type of great Guard for 4 years of high school. So it’s not a shock to her system to see elite talent. She is not intimidated, in fact she embraces shutting these type players down; as she did so often in high school . Next Sarah Karpell already knows how to practice hard. She didn’t need that adjustment most freshman have to make in college. She had to practice hard everyday at SJV… just to survive! Next Sarah Karpell had zero points yesterday and was a beast. How is that possible you ask? Because at SJV she learned, it’s about winning not stats. At SJV everyone plays a role and nothing trumps winning. Sarah learned about being a teammate, while others freshman always made everyone around them, adjust to them….now it’s them who are learning to adjust, unfortunately.
Unlike other freshman who come into college thinking they have to score to play. Sarah learned ages ago at SJV, it’s about doing things to elevate each others ability and talent, that’s gives a player value. So why is Sarah able to compete at such a high level so quickly? Well this is the easiest question of all. Sarah Karpell had been playing against high level elite type college players for 4 years, before arriving at Fordham. SJV PLAYS REAL COMPETITION and it’s why their kids get better and become mega competitive ALLHA FEMALES.
Now I want to end with this. Do you know why some kids struggle in college? Let me help you out. They have never played with other great players. So they don’t know how to fit in at college. They can’t lead because they have always led by being the best player and everyone follows them. Well Sarah Karpell has lead All Americans, All County and All State players. She is not afraid to direct and orchestrate, great players… see, she had done that for years before arriving to play for Coach Gaitley. It’s why she has no problem being vocal and leading older, more experienced, talented players. She has that one thing all good prepared freshman have…CONFIDENCE!
To parents and players, PLEASE listen to what I am about to say. You want your kid to play in college? You want to be prepared for college? Then don’t look for easy street, getting there. Teach your kids how to compete…Play the real competition and watch the great ones. Then pick a school that best resembles the culture you are most Familiar with… I believe that’s just what Sarah Karpell did better than most.