On Wednesday morning, Geno Auriemma and Kevin Ollie (you may have heard of them) were at the New York Athletic Club in New York City preparing to be honored for winning the national championships of Division I basketball.
I was not there. But our Dom Amore, who covers the men’s program so well for the Hartford Courant, was there. And he has passed along some of what Geno had to say.
Here’s Auriemma talking about his USA Basketball staff that includes DePaul’s Doug Bruno, Sout Carolina’s Dawn Staley and Cheryl Reeve, the coach of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.
“I thought it came out pretty well. We’ve got just enough of all the things we’d like to have, we’ve got some experience, we’ve got some new people. Dawn Staley has played, I don’t know how long in the Olympics. Doug has been through the world championship and the Olympics already, Cheryl has been in finals last three years in the WNBA, so I think we’ve got a little bit of everything.
“Chris [Dailey] is going to come back over with us to do all the scouting and organize all that stuff,
“It’s an exciting time. Now that I know what the expectation level is, it makes it a little easier to plan for it. The first time, you’re not that sure what’s going to happen and there is a lot of anxiety. Now you’re a little more relaxed.”
Auriemma said USA Basketball is going to try to get Jen Rizzotti, the Hartford coach, more involved in the organizational and coaching process, as well.
“With USA basketball, one great thing, if you get involved early and you’re an assistant coach and you do a lot of stuff that nobody wants to do, that’s really hard to do,” Aureimma said. “Everybody thinks, I want to be an assistant at Olympics and I want that to be my first job or I want to be head coach at 18 and under in the world championships’
“You’ve got to start out doing the little stuff. People like Doug and Jennifer, that’s what they did and USA Basketball is really good at rewarding those people.
“We have an interesting scenario with coaches and players. We want some players who have been there so we have an experienced team, but we also want some new p layers to start laying the groundwork for the next Olympics. Same with coaches, we want some who have been here and done that, and also some young coaches that can eventually take over.”
USA Basketball will holding training camp at the U.S. Naval Academy from Sept. 7-11 prior to the World Championship in Turkey later that month