Anne Donovan On Brittney Griner

by Categorized: Anne Donovan, Baylor women's basketball, Big East women's basketball, Brittney Griner, Connecticut Sun, UConn women's basketball, XL Center Date:

The Courant will present a feature story on Baylor All-American 6-8 center Brittney Griner Sunday in anticipation of Monday’s game at the XL Center.

We talked to a number of former college centers about what it must be like to her at this point of her life and career, like Seton Hall coach Anne Donovan, 6-8, who has coached WNBA and Olympic championship teams.

Donovan will take over the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun after the college season.

Do you ever put yourself in Brittney Griner’s place, remember what it was like when you were her age?

“When I look at Brittney, I often think of what my life was like when I was her age. What I think is how comfortable she looks in her skin. That was not me when I was her age, certainly not when I was 18 or 19. I finally embraced my height when I was 20, but off the court I was a very shy and introverted kid. Brittney is not like that. She appears to be so very outgoing. You can see the shyness is some respects, but in general she appears very comfortable with who she is. I admire that about her.”

How long did it take you to grow accustomed to your height?

“Very rarely does the stare of people get to me, but I am 50 now. But it took every bit of those years to walk through an airport and be able to not even think about what others were saying or thinking about me. Look, people know who she is when she walks through an airport. That really was the case with me. She has an entirely different element working for her. When I was playing in college, the sport was far more obscure [in the American consciousness]. She has a whole different angle.”

Do you think playing for USA Basketball in the Olympics would have helped her next year in the WNBA?

“I do think having played in USA Basketball would have helped take her to another level. I’ve always said and believed that playing internationally was important for that reason. Imagine what she’d look like by now if she had the benefit of an Olympic experience behind her, especially in terms of her mobility to deal with match-ups. I hope she eventually decides that’s her goal, because the one time she did it she was pretty dominating.”

If you had the chance to speak to her, what would to tell her about what’s coming down the line as a pro?

“I would say to her to try and keep it positive at all times. I would ask her to embrace the experience, go get a gold medal [at some point in the Olympics]. And remember that professional basketball is different from college and that people can be very critical, perhaps even brutal at times in what they say. The innocence will be over in terms of what will be said [to her]. She needs to keep her cool and stay positive.”






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9 thoughts on “Anne Donovan On Brittney Griner

  1. Village Idiot

    Only Idiots of the Village would say negative things to this talented and nice kid. And she is a KID. Today we like to place the titles of Woman or Lady on Kids, it doesn’t allow them to stay in their childhood and enjoy the benefits of being a kid. Dolson–no matter what you caller, woman, lady, madam, she shows the world the pleasures of being youthful. That young woman is all about enjoying what life has given her.
    Griner has suffered the effects of being big. It’s hard to like the “big” kid who is destroying the team you are cheering for. You tend to put all kinds of nasty things on them–and in Griners case most isn’t true. She competes, plays hard, but when it’s over–it’s over, she’s that nice.

  2. Chris Saran

    Wilt Chamberlain was always portrayed as the villain. It definitely affected him at a time when there weren’t very many players his size. However, he was on the two greatest teams of all time, the 1968 76ers (68-14) and the 1973 LA Lakers (69-13), with a 33 game winning streak, still the longest ever, by far. That is one record that won’t ever be broken. In case you’re wondering, I’m a Knicks fan.

  3. HarryH

    Why is the Courant doing a special piece on Griner? She isn’t the biggest or best we have faced. Why not do special pieces on UCONN players?
    Griner will be on the court Monday and shouldn’t be on the Courant Sunday.

    1. Hip Hop Hood

      Probably because she’s better than everyone on the UCONN team. Also, she’s not fat like KML.

      1. Kevin Cavanaugh

        Give it up Hip Hop. KML is not fat. Sure, she is stocky and bigger in appearance than Maya but look at Ohio State’s female center and do you remember Texas A&M’s center, Danielle Adams, during their championship run? Jane Appel was chunkier than KML. The Paris sisters were also fat. Griner is talented but a lot of her advantage is her height. KML never uses her extra weight to her advantage – she hustles and shoots with deadly accuracy. She also rebounds and drives frequently. Dolson used to be fat – she seldom lasted beyond 10 minute stretches in her first year and the start of her second year – she worked hard to change all that – and just look at her now. I truly do not believe KML is excessively heavy – solid, yes, but not fat.

        If KML lost 10 she might be a little faster and maybe a little more Maya-ish – but no more accurate or consistent or more valuable to UCONN.

        Fans are starting to appreciate KML for KML and are stopping the comparison to Maya – good or bad. Maya had 4 years to earn fans respect and fans now respect KML for what she brings to the court every night. KML is either #1 or #2 in 3-point accuracy and Dolson is #1 is college shooting field goal accuracy and Farris is the #1 defender in basketball – she guards the best shooter on all other teams with the best success.

        1. Steve Gee

          Kevin, don’t waste too much logic on the troll.
          He’s just jealous that KML would kick his butt all-over the court, and likely beat him at the game of life as well.

          1. Kevin Cavanaugh

            You are so correct Steve, I let the troll get the best of me – but I felt so much better getting it off my chest.

  4. Hip Hop Hood

    If Kara Wolters had lost 250 pounds while she was at UCONN, should cold have been our version of Brittney Griner.

    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      Based on your numbers you are implying that Kara was morbidly obese – and that was surely not the case.

      Everyone, or at least almost everyone, including UCONN fans, will agree that Griner is one-hellava basketball player – so why do you have to put down others good players in an effort to make Griner look even better?

      On a side note, Kim Mulkey is the biggest crybaby coach in womens bb. She almost tears up and drops to one knee anytime anyone gets within 5 feet of Griner.

      IMHO, a good outside shooting team can negate the effect of a tall center with a wide wingspan. Stanford proved that in Hawaii and hopefully UCONN will again prove that in Hartford monday night.

      Geno has no problem getting on the officials when he sees something questionnable or when he feels there was a bad call – and he has received his share of technicals but Kim, she is overdue for a technical – maybe when her side of the court gets all wet from her tears she will receive a “T” for delay of game.

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