By USA BASKETBALL
2010 USA National Team:
Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut)
USA Basketball Women’s National Team head coach
What did you get out of this week? What did you see?
I thought the biggest thing was that we were able to identify some of the older guys that we can kind of keep on eye on this summer moving forward, and I thought that was good. Some of the younger guys we found out there is some that have tremendous potential going forward. We needed to know how they would do with some of the national team guys, and it was great for them to compete. We wanted to get a sense of people’s mindsets, their attitude, their personality types and all those things we were able to accomplish. And today was just a fantastic ending to that.
How much does this benefit those players headed back to college next season?
I think it benefits both the players going back to college because now they hopefully see there is another level of competition that they are after, so I think they are going to be different players going back if they choose to be. The players who just graduated and are going to the pros, this is a real head start on training camp and kind of gives them a feel of what to expect in a couple weeks when training camp starts. I think everybody that was here benefits from this week.
On coaching players he will face next year in the NCAA:
Yeah, we will take a look at that next year and see if we can’t make a couple changes to what we are doing just to screw them up a little bit. I gave them a couple things that are going to mess up there heads a little bit too, so I didn’t completely send them off in great shape. I’m sure a couple of them are pretty confused. I like it like that.
What was it like to have some of your UConn family back together?
Watching Swin (Cash) play, nothings changed. Not one thing that I’ve seen has changed in Swin Cash. I had said earlier, I wish we had D (Diana Taurasi), and Sue (Bird) and Asjha (Jones) or part of that group. That would be pretty incredible. Swin hasn’t played in this building in a long, long time, and she’s the same Swin that I remember — tremendous energy and tremendous intensity level. Yesterday, there were times in the scrimmage last night where the five Connecticut players were together, and you could just see that there’s a certain chemistry that they had. I wasn’t coaching either team last night or the night before, so I just got a chance to watch. It brought back a lot of great memories.
On coaching against Maya Moore:
It’s evident the more you see Maya play, the more she is around even the best players. Maya gets into those zones, even at this level amongst all these great players, there is something different about Maya. You could see at the end of the game there, some of the of the plays that she makes. I just thought it was pretty cool that Kalana (Greene) made the bucket to tie it and then Maya makes a bucket to win it. I’m really proud when Connecticut players make winning plays, so that was pretty cool.
Swin (Cash) said you were more mellow:
I think with this group you have to be a little bit (more mellow). We are only here a week. There is a lot we are trying to do in a short period of time. They are a little bit older, and you don’t have to say things ten times for them to get it. They are pros for the most part. And then the younger kids, they made a commitment of time and effort to come out here and the last thing you want to do is make it miserable for them. It’s no like they are my players, where I enjoy the misery. These guys, I wanted to make it a great experience for them for the week.
Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun / Connecticut)
On playing with her former UConn teammates:
It’s nice to play with somebody where you already know their tendencies: what they like, what they don’t like. We’re already going to have a natural connection on the court and of course we’re going to connected off the court.
Did it feel like old times playing for Geno Auriemma again?
It did, but not so much because he didn’t have to yell as much. There were a lot of people who did good things all week, so there was less for him to yell about. It was a fun experience to be all together.
Do you think this was a good training camp for the team?
I do. I think that even though all the players who weren’t able to be here, we still came out here and learned a lot. It was good, especially for the people who haven’t played for coach Auriemma to get a feel for his system. Then also for us to get a feel for each other. It worked out really well.
Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx / Louisiana State)
What did you get out of this training camp?
I got a lot out of it. I got to measure myself, see where I’m at and see how much further I have to go. I was excited about everything. Every day I saw progress. I got stronger each day. As far as playing with the young ladies and everybody, being coached by Geno, it was a great experience. I had a lot of fun. I got to learn a lot about Geno and the other coaches. I learned a lot about the other players on the team. Hopefully we can transfer this to the summer and to the World Championship.
Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars / Stanford), USA National Team hopeful
What did you think about this team?
I think it’ll be really interesting when you do add people who are missing into the mix, when everyone is in one place at the same time. It was definitely an advantage for me to be here, watch Geno coach and see the system he’s trying to put in for everyone.
2010 USA Select Team:
Dawn Staley (University of South Carolina)
USA Select Team CO-Coach
Did you see a lot of improvement in the USA Select Team members?
I think they were finally start to get that there is another level of basketball being played out there. I think even with them being elite college players, they think that they are playing amongst the best and against the best, and to get the chance to play against some WNBA players and some Olympians, I think that is awesome experience to give them something to aspire to.
On the scrimmage:
We had a great week of practicing behind closed doors, and then to put a couple of thousand people in the stands and play was great for everybody. UConn fans, they really support women’s basketball. So for our players to play in front of that it’s great. After going two-a-days for the past few days, they were able to feed off the energy of the crowd.
What as this experience like for you?
For me it is a breath of fresh air after trying to get the South Carolina program started. Just seeing players at different positions who are the very best that our country has to offer, it’s a great thing. It’s something that I will take back to our players. They already know that there is another level of basketball being played out there. I saw it, and I can take it back to them and say their peers, people that are their age are committing to play at another level, sacrificing their time. They are getting better, and we got to do it too. It was a good experience for me as a coach.
Andrea Riley (Los Angeles Sparks / Oklahoma State)
What did you learn this week?
I had fun. All the girls are really nice, and the coaches are really trying to help. It was just a good learning experience.
What about your game specifically did you learn?
You have to pick things up quickly, and you have to play hard at all times. You got to go at full speed when you play for (Geno Auriemma).
Was it an honor to get to play with USA on your chest?
It was, it really was. Playing on the same court as some of those girls, it was just like, ‘Wow.” It’s a great step towards the WNBA, and that’s where I’m off to next. So, being here helped a lot.
Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx / Virginia)
What was this week like for you?
It was definitely a great experience. It was a lot of learning from Coach Auriemma and a lot of learning from the older girls. It was fun times when it came to playing with my old colleague, my competition, and also it was fun playing with some of the people that I got drafted with.
What did you learn?
Learning the flow of his offense was definitely something that I wanted to pick up on and understand completely. It’s a little frustrating not fully knowing his offense, and it’s a great offense. It’s a really fun offense to play in. That is definitely something I’m going to keep working on and keep trying to get used in the hopes of playing for him again in the future.
On the scrimmage:
It was exciting. UConn definitely brings out a fan base, and they have great support. It was exciting playing for the crowd, and they just love basketball. They didn’t care if it was just UConn or not, but it helped that we had a couple of UConn players and Coach Auriemma. It seemed like they just love great basketball.
Danielle Robinson (University of Oklahoma)
What was this week like for you?
It was a great experience to be able to play with the older group of girls, some who have been here before, and to play for a great coaching staff was a great experience. I learned a lot, and watching Renee (Montgomery) is what I’m really, really glad I got to do.
What did you learn?
I learned a lot about moving without the ball. It’s pretty clear why UConn is so great just because they are always moving, always working. That is something that I struggled with this year, so definitely going to take that back with me.
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