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 he’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.
“I wanted to coach at the Division I level just like Coach (Rick) Pitino does here,” said Baumann. “That 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.”
In his first semester, Baumann, recipient of a Trustee’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. “My teacher back home, he’s like, ‘Man, I just have this feeling that Coach is going to see you shooting in the gym, and he’s going to ask you to walk on,’” said Baumann, who quickly shook off the idea at the time.
In October, Baumann suddenly found his teacher’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 he’d done something wrong. Yet, as Baumann drove closer to the Yum! Center for the meeting, he remembered something he’d read in Pitino’s blog.
“I start piecing it together, and I’m like in his blog he said he wanted walk-ons (following Mike Marra’s season-ending ACL injury). Could that be it?” Baumann explained. “And I’m thinking this while I’m driving over here, my max five-minute drive, and now I’m thinking, oh gosh, now he’s asking me to be a walk-on? What could be bigger than this? Either I’m not going to be a manager or he’s asking me to be a walk-on. Either way, we’re extremes on both levels.”
As Baumann entered Pitino’s office, Coach told the Ohio County alum, who scored 69 three-pointers as a senior in high school, he’d have a 14-day trial period to earn a spot on the roster. Around day six, Pitino’s verdict was made clear when Baumann was introduced first as a member of UofL’s team during the university’s basketball tip-off luncheon.
“Sometimes when I’m just sitting in my dorm, I think, man, I’m going to be on the floor for the UK game. I’m going to be on the floor!” Baumann exclaimed with pride about his new position. “Never in my life would I have thought about that until the last week or the last two weeks. So much has changed.”
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, he’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 year’s Final Four.
“I would do anything it takes to get a national championship,” said Baumann, who will wear the No. 14 as a Card. “I think that’s all of our goal. All the players throughout, the coaches, I think it’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 (I’ll do). And hopefully (the team will) eventually achieve some of our goals this year.”
For more information on Baumann and the University of Louisville’s 2012-13 roster, visit uoflsports.com.
Contact writer Ashley Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org, 502.498.2051.