One of the best things about Big East media day is having the chance to spend some time with DePaul coach Doug Bruno, without question one of the nicest people I personally know in the game.
He is without apparent ego; for a coach as accomplished and respected as he, that is remarkable. He is self-effacing, humorous, honest, insightful and he always – and I mean, always – wears a dress shirt with the name of his favorite designer on it – DePAUL University.
If USA Basketball is looking for its next Olympic coach – and I know it is – I would suggest it look no further than Doug. He has worked with the elite players since many of them were 17. And he deserves the chance. If he wants the job, please give it to him.
Anyway, he displayed his patience again Thursday by answering many questions about UConn and Geno Auriemma, whom he assisted for the last four years on the 2010 World Championship team and the 2012 Olympic team.
The harsh reality of Big East women’s media day is most of the conventional print and broadcast media is there to write and talk about UConn, always has been, always will be.
I saw only one writer from a non-Eastern media outlet at the function, and he was from Louisville. Doug seems to understand this, even though one of the players by his side, Anna Martin, led the conference in scoring last season.
“Do I see anyone beating UConn this season? If everything goes to form? No,” Bruno said. “I think UConn is that good, and that’s before you even mention the freshmen.
“Listen, to me Kelly Faris [who did not make the Big East’s preseason team] is one of the top five players in the league. I vote her that way every chance I get. That [player] is a professional. And she gets no recognition and she is really good. … Stefanie Dolson is a pro. Bria Hartley is one of the Top 10 players in America. And Mosqueda-Lewis is really good, too.
“But this is a special freshman class. I think it has a couple Hall of Famers in it. I’m just telling it like it is. Look, for UConn, last year may have been considered a bit of a down year [33-5, Big East Tournament title, national semifinals]. But those kids all got great experience.
“Now Geno is understanding what we’ve all known in Chicago, that Morgan Tuck is really, really special. This is a player that I feel is a combination of Nykesha Sales and Jamelle Elliott. She is a throwback, a really, really good basketball player.”
Thank you, Doug.