Mike Thibault Stops By The XL Center; Talks Life, Faris, Stewie

by Categorized: Big East women's basketball, Bill Laimbeer, Breanna Stewart, Connecticut Sun, Indiana Fever, Mike Thibault, UConn women's basketball, USA Basketball, WNBA Date:

I don’t know what the next step will be for Mike Thibault, the former coach of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.

“I’ve got some time to think about it,” he said last night at the XL Center.

But I do know two things about him and his situation..

The first is, the media that had the pleasure of covering him during his 10 seasons as Sun coach grew to like him as much as a person as it learned to admire what he has contributed to basketball on many different levels. How many times does some dopey basketball writer like me get to meet someone who has been an NBA assistant, a CBA head coach, an Olympic assistant gold medal winning coach and a WNBA 200-win coach?  Frankly, I miss him already. He put the Sun into the summer for me and all those who were around him.

Secondly, if the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, a truly sad franchise, don’t do whatever it takes to hire Thiabult as its Coach/GM then may the franchise live forever in mediocrity. Its choices for head coaches in the past have been truly quizzical – or have we forgotten the Tree Rollins era.

With Bill Laimbeer now in New York, Lin Dunn coaching the world champs in Indiana, the Mystics better get their act together.

I had the chance to say hello to Coach Thibault Monday at the UConn-Maryland game. He was there scouting, an indication to me that he intends to stay close to the women’s game, if not intimately involved.

He loves UConn senior guard Kelly Faris:

“She is terrific, terrific player,” Thibault said. “She is what you want in a college player because you can use her in so many different spots. She is strong enough and tough enough to defend power forwards. She is such a great defender who is really improving offensively. She has great instincts and is a great athlete.

“I don’t know right now how her talent will translate to the next level right now. She has a great chance [to succeed] and someone will give her the chance [in the WNBA]. The thing is, at Kelly’s position, you still need to knock down outside shots on a regular basis, unless you have a team like Atlanta, where Arminitie Price [who Faris reminds him of] fits so well into. She is a good athlete, does everything so well, but needs to be around teammates who can give her the freedom to do things on the court [that she does well].

“If Kelly keeps improving, there will not be a question about her. She is getting better at knocking down outside shots and even looking for them, which I think she stopped doing for a while last season.

“But I tell you this, if you had to pick a kid to represent your program, she is a pretty good one.”

As for freshman phenom Brenna Stewart:

“I hate to compare women to the men’s game, but she reminds me of Kevin Love [of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves]. She is an athletic power forward who can  step outside and make shots, but also can pass and runs very well. You need not label Breanna in terms of her position. She looks comfortable playing any of the three post positions and is obviously a great athlete with long arms who can finish plays with either hand.

“I don’t see any freshman in the nation better than she is, by a lot. And there probably aren’t many sophomores or juniors [better than Stewart], either.”




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3 thoughts on “Mike Thibault Stops By The XL Center; Talks Life, Faris, Stewie

  1. Don R

    XL Center. does anyone know why the first three rows behind the UConn bench seem to always be completely empty? even with over 10,000 in the building. since it was an ESPN game they seemed to move people into those seats so they wouldn’t be empty on TV. I saw Megan and Kara for two, so it seemed like they were planted there, not paying customers. anyone know who is suppose to be sitting there or why they are empty? could I purchase a seat there if I wanted to. Sat right behind the bench down in St Thomas and it was awesome.

  2. Denise in AZ

    Those seats are saved for friends of the program. I sat there a few years ago -much to my surprise – when my friend said we should arrive at the XL Center about one hour before tipoff and go to the Will Call window. We asked if they had any good seats left and paid the same price we had already paid for seats that were in the nosebleed section. We were pleasantly shocked to find out our new seats were in the first row behind the UCONN bench! The next game we did the same thing and ended up at center court in the second row. I’m revealing this secret because I now live in Arizona. It’s worth a try to get really good seats.

  3. kenny

    There has to be something wrong when a team gets called for 28 fouls as did Penn State. I lost count on how many were called on Uconn. Like Geno said how can you get offense going when the whistle blows every five seconds.Some of the problem i find is opposing teams try to keep up with uconn’s tempo of the game and they can’t.
    As a result of that, the game gets sloppy.Just my opinon
    why so many fouls are called.

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