Notes and thoughts from Mike Caputo's news conference earlier tonight. Caputo, West Allegheny's star senior running back-defensive back, announced he would play next season at the University of Wisconsin.
*Not a big fan of high school kids having press conferences to announce a college choice. In fact, I can't stand them and try not to attend them, unless absolutely necesssary. I just don't think high school kids need to have press conferences.
Sometimes, a kid who is a marginal Division I prospect wants to have a press conference. Why? I wish his parents and coaches would just say, "Make your commitment and we'll call the local papers."
And I wish someone would once just tell a kid, "You're not that important to have a press conference."
I went to this one tonight, though, because West Allegheny coach Bob Palko said it really wasn't a press conference.
"We're not doing any of that wearing different hats or any of that silly stuff," Palko said Monday. "It's going to be very laid-back. It's just a chance for any media members to talk to him if they want. It's nothing major."
And it was no big deal, thankfully. It was a small, quiet affair held in a West Allegheny classroom. No frills. No bells and whistles. No hats on a table for his college finalists, and Caputo placing different ones on his head. No holding up T-shirts of his finalists. Heck, Caputo didn't even wear a Wisconsin shirt. But that's him and his non-assuming demeanor.
A few newspaper reporters showed up along with members of Caputo's family. First, Palko told everyone Caputo would be attending Wisconsin. Caputo sat in front of a classroom and answered some questions. The photo is of Caputo pondering a reporter's question. Then reporters could do one-on-one interviews if they wanted. As high school press conferences go, this one was fine.
* About his position at Wisconsin: "They offered me as an athlete, but they talked about strong safety and special teams."
* About where other schools liked him: He said everyone wanted him for defense, "except Boston College as a running back."
* On why distance from home wasn't a factor (Ohio State and others are closer): "My family is going to see me play wherever I go."
* On whether Pitt backed off in the recruiting: "Yeah, they backed off. Coach Palko and I were talking a while back that they weren't recruiting me as hard as Ohio State and Wisconsin." But Caputo said even if Pitt didn't back off, that doesn't mean he would've chosen the Panthers. That's how much he liked Wisconsin.
About that "W" in Wisconsin
The most recognizable symbol for Wisconsin athletics is the "W" that is on the Badgers' helmets. Did you know that maybe 10 years ago or so, Palko wanted an emblem for his team's helmets, and he decided to use the Wisconsin "W" as a model? He then added an "A" to it. The "WA" has been a fixture at West Allegheny ever since. Here it is at the entrance to the stadium.
Now look at Wisconsin's "W". Similar?
Guess Caputo will at least get to keep the "W" from "WA" next year.