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Auriemma shares wisdom at Hendrix

by Tim Cooper | September 13, 2017 at 2:26 a.m.
Connecticut women’s basketball Coach Geno Auriemma (middle) talks to Hendrix women’s Coach Drew Gaeng while being wired with a microphone Tuesday before speaking to the Arkansas Basketball Coaches Association in Conway.

CONWAY -- Geno Auriemma always has been involved with recruiting, even when recruiting was not supposed to be a part of the program.

"I went to Catholic schools," Auriemma said. "I can't say there was any recruiting going on, but there was recruiting. So when I got to college, it was easy for me."

Speaking to a gymnasium packed with Arkansas high school and college coaches Tuesday afternoon at Hendrix College, the coach of the 11-time NCAA women's basketball national champion Connecticut Huskies explained that finding players with the right ingredients for his program was not effortless, but coaching any group should be done in a straightforward manner.

"My philosophy is that you don't do something until you get it right, you do something until you can't get it wrong," Auriemma said. "There are coaches out there who will have a dozen defenses, run 75 plays and have 10 out of bounds plays. But basketball does not have to be that complicated."

Prior to Auriemma's arrival at UConn in 1985, the women's team had posted only one winning season ever. Auriemma's first team went 12-15. It was the only losing season of his career.

Connecticut has finished above .500 for 30 consecutive seasons, including six undefeated seasons. Auriemma has led the Huskies to 23 conference titles (19 Big East, 4 American Athletic Conference). He has been named the Naismith Coach of the Year eight times and The Associated Press Coach of the Year nine times.

With the aid of nine players from the Central Baptist College men's basketball team, Auriemma demonstrated basic drills and the way they should be run during practice. Auriemma stressed that all drills should be run at an energetic pace.

"I've been asked what I do to condition my players," Auriemma said. "We work on conditioning during practice. The only time my players are running sprints is when I'm [mad] at them. We work on conditioning, passing and timing all in the same drill."

As far as recruiting, Auriemma said he looks for players who are competitive, unselfish and who are great teammates, but he pointed out to the high school coaches that they should be concerned about only the team they have at the moment.

"Get the most out of the players that you have right now," Auriemma said. "You can't worry about who you used to have or who you have coming up. Make the best of the players that are on your team now."

Sports on 09/13/2017

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