Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

New blood gets chance to impress at U.S. national camp

Many of the players who led the United States to the FIBA World Championship for Women in September and October were missing at the recently-completed national team training camp for a variety of reasons.

As a result there was an opportunity for some of the younger players to try to open some eyes.

"It's been pretty good because we have had a chance to see some of our veterans," UConn and U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said. "We've had a chance to bring out some of the younger guys to see what impact they can have in trying to figure out 'do our veterans still have what it takes, are they still at the level that they need to be.' We are missing a lot of guys from the World Championship team so it has given our players a chance to spend more time on the court, show us a little more of what they can do.

"I have seen the competitiveness, I have seen how much they have improved - the older guys - I have seen what the present looks like and ultimately what the future could look like."

Leading the list of the younger players were Jewell Loyd, the No.1 player taken in this year's WNBA Draft, current South Carolina star Tiffany Mitchell and former BYU center Jen Hamson.

"For them it has been a little bit of a struggle because they are so young so even compared to the guys who didn't make the team at the last world championships they are young," Auriemma said. "Forget that we've got veterans who made the world championship team, the guys who didn't make who were young. Bria Hartley is here, well Jewell Loyd and Tiffany Mitchell compared to Bria Hartley are still young so they have a ways to go to catch up to the guys that are at the second level. It was good for them to see what this is what I have to improve on and they all had their strengths, they all had their weaknesses and they all did things that make you glad that we invited them out, they had some success in the first two days and it is going to help them going forward. It is invaluable, you can't get this experience anywhere else."

So did Auriemma put out all the younger players at the same time or mix and match them with more experienced players?

"A little bit of both," Auriemma said. "We tried to be a little more flexible with that. Sometimes we have them out there with a lot of the young guys and try to figure out who can figure things out, sometimes we get them out there with some veterans. We try to give them a little different looks throughout practice and they have held their own. It is good to see."

Having gone through one full four-year cycle has allowed Auriemma to get a better sense of what he has to work with especially with those players who didn't play for him at UConn. He recruited many of those players and faced nearly all of them at some point during his time with the Huskies.

"You don't spend enough time around them to really know who they are but you do get a sense of 'this is why I recruited these kids,'" Auriemma said. "Obviously from when they are in high school to now they have changed but they are just like any other kid, they just come at it from a different perspective. My guys are sued to me and I am used to them but I enjoy being around those guys. They are fun to coach even though we competed against them all the time. Somebody like Angel McCoughtry is fun to coach. Seimone Augustus is great to coach, I love that. I really appreciate their talents. I enjoyed coaching against them and I enjoy being around them."

The Canadian national team, which includes UConn's Kia Nurse, announced its plans for the coming months which includes a two-week training camp beginning on Sunday in Edmonton and six international friendlies, three being played in Spain and three more in France before playing host to the Pan Am Games. It's a different situation for the U.S. Auriemma said the earliest the team could get together would be in late September with the players not in the WNBA conference finals taking part in another training camp.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home