Two-Four-Six-Eight, Who Does Geno Appreciate?

by Categorized: Big East women's basketball, Geno Auriemma, Kelly Faris, UConn women's basketball Date:

In the hours after UConn’s astonishing second-half purge of Duke on Monday night, the popularity of Kelly Faris experienced the meteoric rise that would elate a political candidate.
Thing is, Faris isn’t running for All-American. She apparently doesn’t even care if she’s nominated.

“I don’t have a Twitter account,” Faris said when asked if she was aware of the impact she had made on social media. “Not really; same old, same old for me.”

All she wants is a national championship. Ah, kids these days.

“Honestly, I don’t really care,’’ Faris said. “I’m not interested in accolades. The individual stuff doesn’t faze me. It’s not what I came here to do. I do what coach wants me to do and what the teams needs. I didn’t come here so that my name would be recognized or that I would be recognized. I came here because this is the best program and I wanted to become the best player I could possibly be. I wanted to become better and better. And I felt like that was what I was going to get if I came here. So for all that stuff, it honestly doesn’t really matter to me.”

It’s this attitude that makes UConn Geno Auriemma love Faris. And it’s what motivated him earlier this week to text her mother and father in Indiana a special message.

“I just wanted to say thank you,” it read.

If No. 3 UConn (17-1) is to win its eighth championship this season, much of it will be because of the will Faris has to make it so. Fundamentally sound, mentally focused and competively resolved, she is her team’s leader.

“She has that affect on our team,” Auriemma said.

And Saturday, she hopes all the good things that spurred the Huskies in the second half to their 30-point win over Duke carry over against Cincinnati (8-10) at First Third Arena.

The Bearcats, coached by former UConn player and assist coach Jamelle Elliott, have lost five straight and are winless in conference play (0-5).

“We’ve seen what we can do and this is our second chance to build on that,” Faris said. “It’s now or never. We had a chance to build on the way we played at Stanford and didn’t. It’s getting later in the season and there isn’t a lot of time left to fix certain things. We shouldn’t have to worry about turnovers. We shouldn’t have to worry about this or that.”

After Faris scored 18 points with 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals against the Blue Devils, Auriemma called it one of the greatest performances in the history of his program. This is  not the kind of compliment Auriemma doles out easily.

“Maybe the rest of the country is surprised, maybe it’s not. Maybe it doesn’t even care,” he said. “But I am glad whoever was watching [the Duke game] got to see what we see every day. We don’t take it for granted.

“The two things people want to talk about concerning our team is the change in Stefanie Dolson and Kelly Faris. They can’t believe she [Faris] has become what she has become. The description of her coming out of high was a tough kid, a coach’s kid, plays hard. But no one ever gave her credit for having the chance to become the kid of basketball player she has become.”

Faris was obviously honored to hear the praise from her coach.

“He’s made some statements about me before and I am hoping to not make him regret it,” Faris said. “The last time he said something like that about me was when I was a freshman and he said I’d never play a bad game. And I think he was regretting that a little.

“It means a lot to me for someone of his caliber to say something like that about a player who has gone through this type of program. It’s a lot to live up to and I have to do it now.”

The Huskies come to Cincinnati somewhat refreshed after two days off following the Duke win. And they come here resolved to continue the momentum built on the heels of Faris against Duke.

“This is my chance [to lead a championship team] and I’ve kind of been a part of it in different ways the last three years,’’ Faris said. “And being my last chance, I’m trying to make the most of it. But at the same time, it’s not just me. I’m not going to do certain things that other people in their leadership role are going to do.

“So it’s going to be a collective effort and that’s what it’s been throughout the whole season. So far I think it’s worked out pretty well and I think we’re going to continue to build on it and continue to hold people more accountable than what we’ve been doing because if we let it drop off now there’s kind of no turning back. So, yeah, I do take a lot of pride in it. But, at the same time, it’s not just me.’’



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24 thoughts on “Two-Four-Six-Eight, Who Does Geno Appreciate?

  1. jim murphy

    Always a pleasure to watch and support. Beyond UConn, I’ll root for her in the WNBA, then hopefully on an Olympic team and finally as a college coach. And I’ll enjoy every minute!

  2. billnaples

    You might need a couple of them to be 6’3″ or so but if you had a roster full of players with the class and heart that this young lady represents you could go through a lot of years never losin a game. She may not play to absolute perfection but one thing she never does is take aplay off. She is the poster child for UConn hoops!

    1. Master Mind

      Bill you are always right.

      Kelly will never take a play off. She will always play harder then the other 9 on the floor.
      If there isn’t a special Kelly Faris award there should be.

    1. Kelly--what's matter with kids today

      John, You’ve written many an article about Kelly, But this one brought tears to my eyes.

      Geno wrote a thank you note to Kelly’s parents. Bet that never happened before.

      Kelly: What Geno said your freshman year was: Kelly may have a bad play, but she’ll never have a bad game!! And he was right!!!

      Geno is an emotional guy. He’s a tough guy.
      But when he loves, he loves.

      Kelly don’t campaign for awards, but they shall be coming. Everyone in the USA now know who Kelly Faris is.

  3. Marion

    John – I have to agree with the above comment Kelly wrote – It brought tears to my eyes as well. Kelly is a special person and player.

    Thanks for all your good writing – love to read them everyday.

  4. BKDad

    Maybe she *should* run for political office. I know I’d appreciate a politician of either party who put the people they represent first.

    But, until then, I think she’ll make a fine professional player – doesn’t she already have a professional attitude in the classic sense of the word? – and a great coach if she chooses to go that route. We in Connecticut have been fortunate to have her this long.

    1. Bud Revet

      I would like to add a positive note here: I’m from Ct. but have not lived there since 1943. We have been loyal UCONN fans since the early ’80’s. There have been some great players along the way and Kelly is certainly one of them. While not living in Ct. we like loyal UCONN fans.

  5. Arnie of Newtown

    Tears and joy in reading what is obvious. All-American in the truest sense of the word.

    What parent could not be proud to have a child like Kelly?

  6. El Cordoba

    Geno’s girls are always a pleasure to watch. They always play like a team. And in public, outside of Basketball, they all act like young ladies. The coach sometimes picks diamonds in the rough and shapes them into a thing of beauty! FOr Kelly and all the girls, WELL DONE!

    1. nhntc47

      Well said, El Cordoba. Uconn has never had a player like Cappie Pondexter. Remember what she did to Geno? I don’t think Diana would ever do that to Pat Summitt.

  7. nhntc47

    I remember some post that said Kelly Faris is not a big deal because she was not that good during her first three years. It was not a very intelligent argument. Suppose Rajan Rondo is having an all-star performance this year, one cannot say that he doesn’t deserve to get an all-star vote because he was lousy last year. You can’t say that Einstein was not a great scientist because he was an average high school student.

    1. Genosguy

      I’ve recently watch UConn Women vintage 2009. Kelly came off the bench and was a major factor. She always played with heart and intelligence.

      Anyone who thinks Kelly was just born on 1/21/13 had better think twice. This girl eats, sleeps and bleeds Uconn white and blue. She came to UConn with great basketball IQ and became better.

      1. Just Sayin

        Still was not guarded on the outside her 1st 3 years. Like Dixon. And like Jefferson. All around game was not there for 3 years. Critics know that. Geno knows that.

  8. JohnD

    As Kelly said,”Shes not in it for the accolades”.I personally think all of the players on this team represent their school very well on and off the court as players in the past.I agree that Kelly “The Little Engine That Could” is very deserving of whatever kudos or awards she has or will receive in the future but unfortunately there are some very mean people out there just biting at the chops waiting for her to have a off game after Geno’s statement so they can drag her through the dirt.Sad but true.

  9. coach777b

    Everything good said about Kelly Faris has already been said. I joined that chorus in here second year. At the end of the game, looking at the score sheet will not tell you what her real impact was. She won’t lead in scoring, assists, rebounds or steals (usually), but UCONN is a better team when she is on the floor. I don’t know what awards she will win at the end of the season, but she is definitely MVP for this year.

  10. SBB

    The ones who should give Kelly an award are her teamates. She makes their job easier. She make them look good for the past 3 years without ever worrying about her stats. When told she needed to become a better shooter (so other teams would put a (wo)man on her, she did.
    She does it all and then declines to be in the spotlight.

  11. Pouty Diggins

    Beth Mowins, Anne Marie Anderson, and Dish-n-Swish held a Skyar love fest on Twitter

  12. Sydney White

    Next Geno will say we have Kelly, you don’t! :-) This whole team is so unselfish. I am so proud of every one of them. :-)

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