Honesty is the policy for the 2012-13 Huskies and coach Geno Auriemma
STORRS, Conn. – Connecticut women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma has been known to tell a story or two over his coaching career. Shocking revelation, right?
Yesterday at Gampel Pavilion someone mentioned to Auriemma that last year he tried to downplay the enthusiasm and expectations facing his team. After all, that team had just lost Maya Moore to graduation, and only had one senior in Tiffany Hayes. That team was within seconds of making the NCAA finals this past April.
Why is he not downplaying the team this season? Auriemma seems to be more upfront about his squad this year, stating publicly several times already that he felt the 2012-13 Huskies could go far in April.
Auriemma talked about the Jimmy V Classic Dinner held in New York City last week. One by one the coaches took the podium. One after the other they each said their teams were young, that they cannot look too far ahead, and so on. Auriemma’s response: “Coaches are so full of B.S. to each other.”
“I’m telling you now, we’re going to be very good this year,” he continued “Then Mark Gottfried (head coach of North Carolina State men’s team) went up there and said ‘I agree with Geno, we’re going to be really good this year.’ So there are going to be two good teams in the country this year, us and the NC State men’s team.”
He is right of course. We have all heard the comments from coaches near and far about how if this happens and that happens we could have a successful season. So this year, Auriemma is ready to try something different for most coaches: honesty.
“What am I supposed to say that’s newsworthy?” said Auriemma . “What could I possibly say that you guys would go, ‘Damn, I’ve never heard him say that.’ There’s nothing I can say that’s going to change what the expectation level is.”
He knows his team is talented. He also knows there is a team in Texas that is in a similar situation and could be even better.
“This year we might have a great team and Baylor might be better,” he said with a smile. “There’s no point in us predicting. So I’m predicting Baylor will go undefeated and win the national championship.”
The Huskies have a talented group of freshmen. Breanna Stewart called them “the Three Musketeers” when asked about a nickname (she plays better than she is at choosing nicknames). Guard Moriah Jefferson is nursing an injury but by all accounts is adjusting well. Morgan Tuck, according to Auriemma, is right now the second best post player in early practices, behind only junior Stefanie Dolson, who is in the best shape of her career.
Then there is Stewart. Fans are going to read a lot about her in advance of the season. The honors, the accolades, the praise of the coaches, they will all be out there. Here is a video of Auriemma discussing Stewart and finding a rare talent in upstate New York.
Baylor is and should be the preseason number one team in the country. UConn by most accounts, is and should be the number two team. They both play difficult schedules, and they will play once in the regular season. Will they play a second time, in New Orleans? It is going to be a fun season finding out!