- Associated Press - Saturday, February 13, 2021

Louisville coach Jeff Walz first heard his daughter sing the national anthem while she was in the playroom at their house earlier this week.

He was amazed.

So was his team after it heard a recorded rendition of 5-year-old Lucy singing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” Thursday night before the Senior Night game against Georgia Tech. The video has since gone viral, appearing on “Today” on Saturday morning.

“I was really proud of her. It’s really something else,” the coach said Saturday by phone. “She’s been coming to all of our basketball games for so many years that it just has stuck with her.”

A few days earlier, Lucy and sister Lola had invited their parents to the playroom, affectionally named the KFC Yum Center after the Cardinals’ arena. They were staging their own Senior night game for Cardinals star Dana Evans.



“They made their tickets, and we went up and they had their scanner from their kitchen set and they had the chairs set up. And before the game, Luce got up with her little microphone and I was shocked. She knew every, single word.”

Walz said his daughter had talked about singing it for Evans.

“I thought it would be great if she would do it. I had to trick her,” Walz said. “She had no idea that’s why I filmed it.”

Walz took his daughter to the real KFC Yum Center saying he wanted to film her rendition of the anthem for her great-grandfather, who is 98.

A lot of Louisville’s basketball staff was around and Lucy got a little bit of stage fright. Walz ushered them away and he filmed it himself at center court.

When Lucy saw herself on the scoreboard Thursday as the video played she wasn’t thrilled with her dad.

“The next morning we got up for school and she told me that ‘you should have just told me dad’,” Walz said. “I knew though she wouldn’t have wanted to do it if I told her.”

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.

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