After competing against him for three years, helping to beat his team more frequently than anyone in recent history, Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride was somewhat at a loss for words in a huddle at USA Basketball camp listening to its national coach, Geno Auriemma.
“I was definitely different,” McBride said Saturday. “It was a little weird knowing I go to Notre Dame. But it was a great opportunity. He is the Olympic coach for a reason. Being able to learn some things from him was a great opportunity for me to have.”
Auriemma loved what he saw from McBride during the brief weekend the team met in Las Vegas last October. It was the same camp UConn’s Breanna Stewart, Stefanie Dolson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis attended.
“Going into the camp, Kayla McBride was perhaps just another college player invited,” Auriemma said. “I don’t think a lot of people paid as much attention to her last year because most of it was naturally all on Skylar Diggins. But once she got to camp, and people began to see what she can do, well, it didn’t surprise me, but I think it surprised a lot of others. i would venture to say other than Stewie [Breanna Stewart] and Elena Delle Donne she might have been the most impressive player there, at least for a day or two.”
McBride, certain be a first-round WNBA draft pick next week, was thrilled to know Auriemma thought so highly of her.
“It’s certainly a good feeling to have,” McBride said. “He pushes his players. I like that. I was wonderful to have the opportunity to be coached by him. And its humbling to know what he thinks of me.”