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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New challenge, different role as Sue Bird returns to UConn

Sue Bird has stepped foot inside Gampel Pavilion in a variety of different roles from highly-touted recruit, productive All-American player, excited fan. Now, however, there is a new chapter in Bird's basketball odyssey as she is the color commentator for today's UConn/South Florida game for ESPN2.

"I was really lucky," Bird said. "I was with Fran Harris (for the Texas/Kansas game) for the first game and we had a really good vibe, really good chemistry. Everybody tells me 'act like you are sitting at home on your couch talking to your friend about the game.' That is kind of what I try to do."

"I have enjoyed it so far. I got to watch other team's shootarounds and that was pretty cool. Those are the only shootarounds I know, see how coaches prepare their teams it was really interesting and I learned a lot."

Bird is currently living in Greenwich so she has been able to keep up to date with what's been going on with this year's UConn squad so it should help her on today's broadcast.

"I live in Connecticut so I didn't have to scout them, it was really easy for me for this particular game," Bird said. "I see interviews, I read what you guys write so I am fairly in tune with 'they didn't have a leader' or 'Coach would like somebody to step up and count on for 20 points a game.' I do see something that you haven't necessarily seen in terms of depth, the option of depth and he has two freshmen who are probably going to have to provide a lot but I think they have proven that they can do that.

"I really like Morgan Tuck, everybody does, she is just that Steady Eddie presence that can allow Stewie to just be herself and not feel pressure. In some ways it does take a special personality but Morgan has that already so I don't think it is that difficult for her. They really complement each other, not necessarily in an X's and O's (way) although  they do but really in a pressure complement because the way Morgan plays allows Stewie to do her thing and the way Stewie plays she doesn't have to take crazy shots or do crazy things, she can be herself so in a way they complement each other that way."

Bird said when the rules over in Europe changed and her UMMC Ekaterinburg team was only able to keep two American players, she was left without a team to play before. She had other opportunities to play in Europe but most of the offers came after ESPN extended her the offer to do some games.

Bird said she was sad but not angry to see former Seattle Storm coach Brian Agler leave to take the job with the Los Angeles Sparks and in her opinion UConn's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is the best player available in this year's draft.

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