Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Guru's Musings: What Auriemma Could Say, But Not Likely, About Returning to USA Basketball

(Guru's note: This is a tongue-in-cheek companion piece to the news post above this on Geno Auriemma's return to coach the USA national team.)

By Mel Greenberg

First, there is no truth to the speculation that USA Basketball will have a special display case this weekend in Springfield, Mass., at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during the nearby induction ceremonies displaying the arm of UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma that USA officials twisted off to get him to change his mind and return to make another run for a gold medal.

While many expected Auriemma to eventually cave in -- though he protested long enough to shorten his next of term of service by a year and several months -- anticipation does exist of exactly what Auriemma will say at UConn Friday afternoon to explain his change of mind.

Some things that won't be said but could be said are the following potential comments Geno could make :

"You all say I drive people and opponents nuts so if that's true than what better place to do it than Brazil." :)

"Furthermore, since I got to coach six of my former players in London, there's a chance to add to the overall total if by then Stephanie (Dolson), who will have several years of WNBA experience, could make the squad, and Stewie (Brianna Stewart) could be the hot collegiate prospect as a graduating senior.

"And after seeing BigMommaStef on CPTV the other night at worst she can fill in for me at press conferences.

"So that would be eight and actually if you count Elena Delle Donne's two-day enrollment here, if she's on the team that would be nine former UConn students.

"Besides, I somehow knew after Elena left here (June 2008) we were still destined to someday serve together and besides with her dad in the construction and real estate business he could be useful when I decide to expand my chain of restaurants into Delaware.

"And then if I need to get an extra agent, her brother Gene I see is getting plenty experience.

"Furthermore if I decide to run for president in 2016, Elena could be useful getting her buddy the Vice President (Joe Biden) to support my candidacy.

"And since there are three more NCAA titles to be won between now and Rio, I probably will be getting a lot of time to visit the White House and see if I would need to construct wine cellars for my products.

"By the way, after this press conference is over we will have a tasting next door inside the practice facility under construction so pick up your hard hats on the way out.

"And John before you ask, I haven't talked to (Tennessee coach) Holly (Warlick) in the last two days about either being on my staff or having the Olympic team (aka the UConn alumni) play hers in a friendly match."

Incidentally, for reasons not ready to state here, the Guru has reason to believe the road back to USA for Auriemma got ramped up in June during the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame weekend in Knoxville, Tenn.

Good Timing

Meanwhile, the WNBA Connecticut Sun officials must be thrilled over the timing of the announcement considering several reporters who cover the team will also be at UConn Friday for the Aurieemma press conference.


The Sun, setting all kinds of records for misery this season, host the Washington Mystics Friday night in a game in which former Sun coach Mike Thibault, who was let go last winter and picked up by Washington, could possibly clinch a playoff spot with a win and a loss by New York to Atlanta.

But with Auriemma getting all the attention, the game may be placed much deeper in sports sections in Connecticut than would otherwise be the case.

And speaking of Connecticut, which is lottery bound this winter, it was amusing to read Sun coach Anne Donovan 's comments to the Hartford Courant about Auriemma's change of mind.

Donovan, herself a Hall of Famer, coached USA to gold in 2008 in China with Thibault and (this weekend) Hall of Fame bound Dawn Staley on her staff.

Talking to Courant beat writer John Altavilla (and maybe several others) Donovan compared Auriemma's initial reluctance to a woman not wanting to increase her family after experiencing her first childbirtth.

Like the Guru thought, Donovan is suddenly talking to reporters about having a baby when all summer coping with the Sun's massive roster depletions through injuries, she's been having a bird.

Meanwhile, a real human bird as in WNBA Seattle's Sue Bird, an Olympian and former UConn star who missed the summer recovering from surgery, is likely to be among the group when USA has its first organizational camp in October to start sizing up the core roster for next summer.

So while Friday's date with Geno will have a slant on 2016 and Rio, the reality is it's about time to get serious talking Turkey, which is where next year's FIBA Worl,d Championship will take place.

-- Mel
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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