Cashmere’s Hailey Van Lith Commits to Louisville
Cashmere High School basketball start Hailey Van Lith announced she was committing to Louisville during a ceremony in the school's gym Saturday afternoon.
After introductions from Cashmere Athletic Director Jeff Carlson and girl's basketball head coach Brent Darnell, Van Lith spoke to the crowd of roughly 100 family members, friends, and supporters. She read an emotional letter she had written to her grandfather, who passed away four years ago before he could see Van Lith play in high school.
Van Lith's letter ended with the following:
'I know you and God are smiling down on me because you have always liked the color red better anyways. I'm committing to the University of Louisville.'
Van Lith, who had recently whittled her choices to just Baylor and Louisville, beamed as she then tore off a black jacket, revealing a red, long-sleeved Louisville shirt.
She thanked her coach, team, friends, family, community and God in her letter while many in attendance could be seen wiping back tears.
"I am where I am today because you guys have all inspired me in different ways to chase these crazy dreams I have in my head," said Van Lith, trembling.
Just some of Van Lith's accomplishments include being a four-time Olympic gold medalist, MVP of the 2018 USA Basketball National Championships, the 2019 Gatorade Washington Girls Basketball Player of the Year, MVP of the 2019 FIBA 3 on 3 World Cup, and she was named to the 2019 USA Today All-USA First Team. She owns the Washington State all-time single season scoring record. Van Lith also set single game records at Cashmere for points (52) and 3-pointers (12). In fact, she has set every statistical basketball record at CHS with still a year to go.
All accomplished with a 4.0 grade point average.
Van Lith admitted that, with all the talent evaluaters watching her over the last several years, she didn't know until fairly recently where she wanted to end up.
"I just think between my relationship with the head coach, the girls, and the fan base there it was a perfect fit for me." Van Lith said, "I'm super excited to get out there."
Long courted by major Division 1 NCAA programs, Van Lith chose a Cardinals team led by head coach Jeff Walz. Walz is heading into his 13th season at the helm for Louisville, making the NCAA Tournament in every year but one. Under his direction, the Cardinals made it to the NCAA Tournament championship game in the 2008-09 and 2012-13 seasons, losing both times.
"My playing style fits really well with their system." added Van Lith, "(Walz) is going to teach me how to be a better point guard but also improve my individual skill. I think I'm going to be a combo guard for them for a little bit. Hopefully just come in my freshman year and play whatever role they need me to play."
After all the hand shaking and hugs, Van Lith was then asked, "What's next?"
"Practice starts Monday," Van Lith replied, grinning.