For many high school athletes, college is a time to hang up the jersey and begin a new chapter with the end of a playing career.
Logan Baumann believed heâ€™d be one of those athletes. Despite receiving attention from Transylvania, Centre and Furman, the 6-foot Hartford, Ky., native chose to forfeit playing basketball to attend the University of Louisville and adopt the less-glorious role of student manager.
â€œI wanted to coach at the Division I level just like Coach (Rick) Pitino does here,â€ said Baumann. â€œThat was a big goal of mine, and I think the manager (position) was, to me, a bigger step up than playing at a smaller school versus being a manager (at Louisville) under a coach like we have.â€
In his first semester, Baumann, recipient of a Trusteeâ€™s Scholarship (an award based on academic achievement), was focused on excelling in the classroom and his new responsibilities as manager. But, his high school teacher foresaw a different fate in the college freshman. â€œMy teacher back home, heâ€™s like, â€˜Man, I just have this feeling that Coach is going to see you shooting in the gym, and heâ€™s going to ask you to walk on,â€™â€ said Baumann, who quickly shook off the idea at the time.
In October, Baumann suddenly found his teacherâ€™s prediction unfolding. During class one day, Baumann received a call from the head student manager to meet with him and Coach Pitino, and immediately began worrying heâ€™d done something wrong. Yet, as Baumann drove closer to the Yum! Center for the meeting, he remembered something heâ€™d read in Pitinoâ€™s blog.
â€œI start piecing it together, and Iâ€™m like in his blog he said he wanted walk-ons (following Mike Marraâ€™s season-ending ACL injury). Could that be it?â€ Baumann explained. â€œAnd Iâ€™m thinking this while Iâ€™m driving over here, my max five-minute drive, and now Iâ€™m thinking, oh gosh, now heâ€™s asking me to be a walk-on? What could be bigger than this? Either Iâ€™m not going to be a manager or heâ€™s asking me to be a walk-on. Either way, weâ€™re extremes on both levels.â€
As Baumann entered Pitinoâ€™s office, Coach told the Ohio County alum, who scored 69 three-pointers as a senior in high school, heâ€™d have a 14-day trial period to earn a spot on the roster. Around day six, Pitinoâ€™s verdict was made clear when Baumann was introduced first as a member of UofLâ€™s team during the universityâ€™s basketball tip-off luncheon.
â€œSometimes when Iâ€™m just sitting in my dorm, I think, man, Iâ€™m going to be on the floor for the UK game. Iâ€™m going to be on the floor!â€ Baumann exclaimed with pride about his new position. â€œNever in my life would I have thought about that until the last week or the last two weeks. So much has changed.â€
Though playing time may be little on a squad ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in most preseason polls, Baumann is excited about extending a playing career he once thought was over. And, heâ€™s ready to contribute whatever way he can to a team hungry for vengeance after losing to the 2012 NCAA National Champion Kentucky in last yearâ€™s Final Four.
â€œI would do anything it takes to get a national championship,â€ said Baumann, who will wear the No. 14 as a Card. â€œI think thatâ€™s all of our goal. All the players throughout, the coaches, I think itâ€™s a dream for everyone, so anything I can do in practice, anything we can do to extra-prepare for a team, anything we can do in scouting … anything that possibly me, myself, or anybody as teammates can do together to enhance our group (to) just get closer (Iâ€™ll do). And hopefully (the team will) eventually achieve some of our goals this year.â€
For more information on Baumann and the University of Louisvilleâ€™s 2012-13 roster, visit uoflsports.com.
Contact writer Ashley Anderson at email@example.com, 502.498.2051.