Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lofty praise for former UConn star

The best basketball could be in former UConn star Tiffany Hayes'
 future in the opinion of veteran WNBA guard Jasmine Thomas
When Jasmine Thomas arrived in Atlanta she wasn't quite sure what to make of teammate Tiffany Hayes, the former UConn star coming off an up and down rookie season.

However, in the two seasons that they were teammates Thomas saw Hayes transform from a youngster with tons of potential to a reliable night in and night out contributor.

Not only did Hayes average a career-high 28.4 minutes per game but also had her best numbers for field-goal percentage and assists. Perhaps the most noticeable area improvement was in ball security as her turnovers per 36 minutes played went from 2.8 during the 2013 season to 1.5 last year.

"She is just relentless," sad Thomas, acquired by the Connecticut Sun on draft day. "She had gone through some injuries and I liked the way she plays. She gets beat up a lot but she is able to stay aggressive, she attacks and keeps the right mindset. I feel like she is a player who is going to continue to get better each year."

Keeping on the UConn side of things, I still remember who impressed Geno Auriemma was with Thomas back in 2010 when she was one of 10 players in the USA Basketball Women's Select team. It gave college players including current Connecticut Sun standouts Kelsey Griffin and Allison Hightower, former UConn and Connecticut Sun guard Kalana Greene and Los Angeles Sparks and U.S. national team forward Nneka Ogwumike a chance to work out under the watch of USA Basketball. They even got to work with the national team coaching staff led by UConn's Geno Auriemma.

I asked Thomas to reflect back on how valuable that experience was for her.

"Geno is a coach I admire and being able to play for him, get instruction from him ...," Thomas said. "Coach (Chris) Dailey was also here so she is somebody I looked up to when I was younger so it was a good experience for me that while I was still in college get a taste  of what it takes to be a pro."



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