Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Freshmen get early introduction to life under Geno

With teams able to legally hold practices in August in preparation of taking a trip overseas, it has been an eye-opening experience for not only UConn coach Geno Auriemma but his three freshmen.

Auriemma said Brianna Banks, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes "don't know a damn thing about playing basketball."

It's not something that he hasn't told every single freshman who has come into the Connecticut program.

"The freshmen are going through this scenario now rather than going through it in October 15 (the first day of practice)," Auriemma said before Thursday's WNBA game at Mohegan Sun Arena. "It will be really good for them because I told them the other day 'it just goes to show you that 9,000 AAU games in the last three years and you guys don't know a damn thing about playing basketball.' All this stuff that they play AAU and they come to college 'game ready.' They come and they don't know anything about how to play especially how to play with other really, really good players who are better than you. All these things, we are getting a head start on putting this team together and judging from what I've seen, it is going to be a long process."

In typical Auriemma fashion, he used to exploits of his former players to motivate his current players at a recent practice.

"I saw Tina, Kalana (Greene) and Renee (Montgomery) the other day," Auriemma said. "They came up to school. They just got back from Phoenix and they still get that same look when they play games and they play well and it is fun for me whenever I do get a chance to be around them. I know that is not often. I do get to use them as examples. I told the team that Tina got 23 rebounds the night before and I said that I don't think there will be anybody on our team that got 23 rebounds in a week counting games, practices and pre-game warmups."

Auriemma also said that the U.S. national team's next training camp will likely be held in Europe in September and he alluded to the fact that it could start before the first round of the WNBA playoffs.

"In September we'll go to Europe for probably our last training camp," Auriemma said. "We have to put the (Olympic) roster in next June and I don't know that we will have a chance to get together next April or May because of the way the seasons overlap. This could be the last time we get together and I don't know who is going to be there. Whoever is not playing in the (WNBA) finals or the semifinals (won't be there) so I am excited to see some of the younger guys. These training camps are not for the older guys, you already know what they are going to do but it is great to see some young kids who maybe haven't had an opportunity. So if Sue (Bird) and Diana (Taurasi) aren't there, that gives some guards some chances they wouldn't get. If Tina (Charles) and Sylvia Fowles aren't there, that gives a couple of big kids a chance to do some things. That is why I enjoy going to training camp because I want to see not only who cam be that part of the team but down the road, who is the next group."

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