Tonight, the Louisville Cardinals and the Michigan Wolverines will be playing on the biggest stage that a college basketball team can play on. Millions of people will tune in to watch just one game, to see which lucky team gets to cut down the nets and hoist up the national championship trophy. This is something that every young basketball player dreams of, and Peyton Siva, Louisville’s senior point guard from Seattle, Washington, has a chance to make this common dream come true.
Peyton Siva has had a fantastic career at Louisville. He is 3 assists away from tieing the Louisville record for assists in a season, and sits comfortably in second place in the rankings for assists in a career at Louisville. His 86 steals this season currently puts him tied for first all-time for steals by a Louisville player in a season. Only Jeff Hall, Milt Wagner, and Billy Thompson have played more games as a Louisville Cardinal than Peyton Siva.
Peyton Siva will be playing his last game as a Louisville Cardinal tonight. On the bright side of things, his last game will be for the national championship. However, basketball lovers in Seattle, and the West Coast in general, are wondering how this dynamic player got away from the west coast.
Siva was one of the best high school basketball players the city of Seattle had every seen. He started all four years at Franklin High School where he led the Quakers to a state championships at the 4a and 3a level. In his senior year, he racked up the awards; he was a unanimous selection as Mr. Basketball in Washington State, AP Washington boys high school Player of the Year, Seattle Times boys high school Player of the Year, Class 3A state tournament MVP, Metro League MVP, and Parade All-America third team selection. On top of that, he was an McDonalds All-American as well. Somehow, Siva ended up over 2,ooo miles away in Louisville, Kentucky.
Obviously, Louisville is a very desirable place to play, but the fact that a player of this caliber was plucked away from the likes of the elite west coast teams such as UCLA, Arizona, Gonzaga and his hometown school of Washington, is astonishing.
Siva is not the only Seattle, Washington product to attend U of L. Terrence Williams, who had a fantastic career at Louisville, was a blue chip recruit out of Rainier Beach High School. Williams and Siva are only a few examples of players from the Seattle Metropolitan area to play far from home after high school.
“What’s your point?’ You may ask. My point is as follows. West coast teams must take advantage of the local talent that is in front of them in order to take the next step. And by West coast teams, I mostly mean Gonzaga.
Gonzaga, while they have made significant strides in the past decade, have failed to meet the expectations of the media and their fan base. I believe they could take the next step if they vamp up their recruiting in the pacific northwest, and win those essential recruiting battles.
Gonzaga has traditionally not gone after the well-known recruits; they go for the diamonds in the rough, such as Elias Harris, Kelly Olynyk, Kevin Pangos, just to name a few.
Now, they have gone for some local talent, and their recruitment of Gary Bell Jr shows that. But they have whiffed miserably on a few local recruits as well, such as Kyle Wiltjer and Zach Levine. Gonzaga absolutely needs to take control of the pacific northwest in order to take the next step, and advance farther in the tournament.
But I regress. Siva has accomplished so much at the University of Louisville. As a resident of Seattle, I wish him the best of luck tonight. You have represented Seattle extremely well. Good luck tonight, Peyton.