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Joining Hammer and Rails Staff

New staff member self-introduction for coverage of Purdue Women's basketball.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Hello fellow Boilermaker fans and bloggers.  My name is Jack Walker.  Travis has asked me to join the staff at HammerandRails to publish articles about all things Purdue Women's basketball.  Some of you may recognize me from the many FanPosts I have provided over the years.

My handle is WBBFAN and yes I am a die-hard fan of Purdue women's basketball.  A little background.  I attended Purdue University in 1975-1979.  Other than my freshman year when Alex Agase was coach, I was on campus when Purdue football had some of its greatest teams under coach Jim Young.  Back when Ross-Ade was full and game day was a great day.  OK, that is enough about football.  I am here to take your mind off of, well, you know...

I started watching NCAA women's basketball when Rebecca Lobo played for Uconn and they won national championships, around the mid 90's.  Before that it was basically not televised.  Or if it was I didn't notice.  Certainly when I was a student, I have no recollection of women's basketball at all even though the team had its beginning in 1976.  I started following Purdue women's basketball in our glorious national championship season, and loved watching Steph White, Ukari Figgs, and company win it all.  The following year I moved back to Indiana.  Side note I went to the same high school as Sharon Versyp, Mishawaka High School.  By the time she was playing high school basketball I was living out of state and pretty much unaware.

Living since 2000 in the shadow of the evil dome, I did attend a lot of Notre Dame women's basketball home games. In fact my friends and I had season tickets and they still do.  A few years back I got so disgusted that I now refuse to go to a game there unless Purdue is playing there. I also attended a lot of Big Ten women's tournaments from 2001-2011.  I also would go to one or two of Purdue's home games per season, and still try to do so.

With TV coverage of NCAA women's basketball on the networks, ESPN, BTN, and BTN Plus, I am now able to watch almost all of Purdue's games and a lot of other games relevant to Big Ten women's basketball as well as teams throughout the nation.  And I watch most of the Big Ten women's tournament and NCAA tournament every year.

To those of you fans who only follow men's basketball, I only ask that you not be so quick to criticize the women's games.  I call it an acquired taste to basketball fans.  While the rules are very similar, women's teams have to play more teamwork and the game is not as conducive to individual hot dogging.  Not that I don't like men's basketball because I am a true believer in Hoosier Hysteria (the state not the team).  Observers just need to realize that the women's game has its differences, but it can be really fun to watch, if you have not really watched much before.

The late great John Wooden was quoted as saying, a few years before he passed, that NCAA women's basketball is the closest to the way Naismith invented the game of basketball.

My primary goal is to help the loyal fan of our women's basketball team keep up with players, games, strategies, trends, etc.  My secondary goal is to hopefully convert a few more basketball fans to consider watching some women's games.

As for the prognosis for this coming season, more will be coming later.  I don't have any inside track into the team and coaches, just observations as a super fan.